Cath Is A Lifesaver!

Cath Baker & Commander Paulo Tomás de Sousa e Costa

by Matt D’Arcy

Vale da Telha’s Cath Baker, who has raised thousands of Euros for charity, has made another—more personal—donation to Portugal’s lifeboat service.

Cath donated a scale model of a new lifeboat to the Instituto de Socorros a Náufragos, in a special ceremony at their HQ in Caixas, Lisbon.

She did so in memory of her late husband Peter, a lover of the sea, who died last year.

“Peter had his own boat and he loved to be out at sea fishing with his friends off the coast here,” said Amovate member Cath, who scattered Peter’s ashes into the sea off Ponta da Atalaia.

“He also had friends among the local fishermen at Arrifana and he cherished the time he spent with them.

“The lifeboat service is there to protect seafarers, and Peter really appreciated the work they do, putting their lives on the line for others at sea.

“So when the mourners at Peter’s funeral made a collection of €550 it seemed appropriate to donate that money to the lifeboat men in his memory”.

Cath, whose various fund-raising activities in the Aljezur area have benefited children’s charities, the local school and Portimao Hospital amongst others, contacted the Instituto de Socorros a Náufragos*** to ask what they would like her to do with the donation.

Cath told us: “They said they were launching a drive for a new type of boat and


would like to use the money to have a replica model built, which they would use in their fund-raising activities.

“They also presented the model, which is now on display in Caixias, to the Secretary of State to show him the specifications of the 15-metre boat they needed, a large capacity lifesaver class “Vigilante II”, which has twin 440hp engines and a maximum speed of 31 knots.

“So, hopefully, the replica plays a big part in helping them achieve their goal, and I know Peter would be proud of that. I think they are hoping to eventually obtain four of these boats to cover the entire Portuguese coastline, so it’s quite possible that one day one of them will be operating off the coast here, where Peter loved to go out fishing.

“The main thing is that they will save lives wherever they are and that’s what is most important”.

2 First Lieutenant Michael Barradas dos Santos, Faith Quinton, Cath Baker Commander Paulo Tomás de Sousa e Costa

Cath, accompanied by close friend Faith Quinton, travelled to Lisbon for the presentation ceremony where she was met by Commander Paulo Tomás de Sousa e Costa, Director of the Instituto de Socorros a Náufragos, and  First Lieutenant Michael Barradas dos Santos, Chief of the Maritime Rescue of the Instituto de Socorros a Náufragos.

The model, made by João Marques, was presented in a display case bearing a brass plate reading: “Presented by Mrs Catherine Baker in memory of her husband Mr Peter Baker”.

“I was overwhelmed when I saw the size and detail on the boat,” Cath said.

“Paulo and Michael made us feel so welcome—they presented me with a shield bearing the name of the Institute and the inscription ‘In appreciation to Mr Peter John Baker’ which made me so emotional.

“It was a lovely, relaxing day in the company of true gentlemen who showed us

Brass Plaques In Display Case

around their HQ, a lovely place with photographs and models everywhere showing the history of the lifeboats.

“We had a beautiful lunch cooked by the chef in the canteen and they told us anyone visiting Lisbon is welcome to go and visit their HQ and see the model.

“It was a day I’ll never forget”.

National lifeboat chief First Lieutenant Barradas dos Santos, whose organisation is about to celebrate its 125th anniversary, told us:

“We wanted to create the scale model to demonstrate to the Admirals and the politicians just what was needed, in order to get their support for this new generation of lifeboat—and we now have it, so the replica paid for by Mrs Baker’s donation did its’ job.

“All donations to the ISN are very important, as the work we do is to protect people at sea.

“However, this donation in particular was important because it allowed us to materialise one idea, a step fundamental to ensure we could get the backing we need to build these new lifeboats.

“But we also wished to keep it on display at our headquarters as a lasting memory of Mrs Baker’s generosity in the name of her husband.”

The First Lieutenant, whose crew members around the Portuguese coastline are all full time and contracted to the government, went on: “At present we are planning two lifeboats similar to the replica—one based in the north of Portugal, the other in the Azores.

“But there are intentions to build a further two, and probably one will be posted in the Algarve although we are still undergoing feasibility studies to ascertain the area where it is most needed.”

( In 2016 the ISN lifeboat operating out of Sagres had 12 emergency call-outs, saved the lives of eight people and assisted another 36 who had gotten into difficulties. They also saved one boat from sinking, and assisted 15 other boats that were in trouble).

***Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Portuguese Lifeboat Service can contact them by letter or e-mail at:

Postal Address:

Rua Direita de Caxias 31

2780-042 Caxias



+351 214 544 710


The ISN will then arrange to speak to the individual donor to come up with a mutually agreeable plan for the use of those funds.


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