100 Strangers : No. 100 : David “Johnny” Groves by phil_howcroft

100 Strangers : No. 100 : David “Johnny” Groves

Meet David “Johnny” Groves, from Skegness RNLI, my 100th stranger, who had just rescued a young lady from the sea after she was adrift in a plastic inflatable.

It is quite a story and a fitting finale to my 100 strangers.

On Tuesday we went to Skegness for the day, it is a mandatory day trip for people from Nottingham. My wife, my whippet and myself parked at the North End of the town and turned left and walked along the beach to find a nice spot to sit.

It was a beautiful sunny day, we had a picnic and a paddle and took in the famous “bracing air”.

In the afternoon we heard a man shouting on the waters edge, we could see an inflatable drifting out to sea. The man kept shouting and then a beach buggy pulled up on the shoreline, driven by Johnny.

Johnny pulled up his wetsuit and started swimming out towards the inflatable. My wife was worried that he had parked his buggy some way from the inflatable and was swimming diagonally towards the lady. “He knows what he is doing” I told my wife “He is probably using the current and offshore breeze to make the swim easier” was my reply.

By the time Johnny had reached the inflatable an RNLI dinghy was also approaching .

There was quite a few people watching on the waters edge, so my wife sent me to investigate. I spoke to the man who was shouting and he told me it was his daughters best friend who had come on holiday with his daughter. He’d called the RNLI as he decided it was too far for him to swim out and rescue her.

The RNLI dinghy brought the young lady and Johnny to shore to a ripple of applause from the onlooking people.

As the crowd dispersed Johnny was left on his own with his buggy, so I went to have a chat to him.

“How many of those do you get in a season?” I asked

“Not too many I hope” replied Johnny.

“There is an offshore wind today and we have signs up on the main beach telling people not to take inflatables into the sea. The beach is so long that we don’t tend to patrol down in this section”

“It was quite a swim” I said

“Yes, when we got the call, I was a little worried about the swim as it is not long since I finished my lunch”

I then asked Johnny if he would take part in my 100 strangers project and as you can see by the image he was happy to do so. Johnny asked me to send the photos to RNLI Skegness and tag him on Facebook. Johnny has also been a lifeguard in the Bahamas, which is quite different from the English East Coast of Lincolnshire !

I am sure you will all agree that Johhny makes a great number 100 and he deserves total respect for the job and service that he and his RNLI colleagues provide to the community

I shot this on my old Canon 450D and edited the shot in Darktable. Bright Sunlight, shadows and reflections doesn’t make ideal shooting conditions, but the story and image together are a perfect 100.

So that’s it, 100 strangers completed. To each and every stranger a big thank you for letting me take your picture and tell the back story to the shot. I have met some fabulous people and I hope my 100 strangers reflect the diverse society we live in. I started the project back in September 2015, so it has took me almost two years to complete, which is about 1 stranger per week. So what’s next? I intend to do a “round 2, 101 to 200” of 100 strangers. I think too, that I need another project to run alongside it. Any ideas on another project will be gratefully received as I haven’t thought of one yet

For none UK viewers, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as well as on some inland waterways. The are separate from the Coastguard, independent of the Government and rely on volunteers and supporters to run their lifesaving service.

This picture is number 100 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page


My own strangers can be seen here:

Well any lady would just love to be rescued by Johnny I reckon! A fit young man & a hero too! Well done on completing your 100 strangers Phil, it's been a marathon project which has been very interesting to watch. Glad you are continuing!
August 20th, 2017  
What a fabulous end to your first project Phil and as you say, a very worthy stranger for number 200. Great story and photo.
August 20th, 2017  
Well done on completing the 100 strangers challenge
August 20th, 2017  
A huge well done on completing your 100 strangers challenge not only the beautiful portraits but also the great background stories -- so delightful to read ! This one is a real eye candy with his quad bike !! Pleased you are continuing with another 100 !!
August 21st, 2017  
Wonderful subject to complete this project. He is indeed an asset to society. Well done you on doing this, I find it very difficult asking people for their photo.
August 21st, 2017  
I definitely agree that Johhny makes a great number 100 and he deserves total respect for the job and service that he and his RNLI colleagues provide to the community! Congratulations and a fav to you too, Phil for completing this daunting task. Best wishes on the next 100! BTW, why did you end by saying this was 99? Just a slip?
August 21st, 2017  
Phil you need to edit your info from Flickr ( 99 > 100 ) A great no 100, love the photo (would I have been brave enough to ask for it?!) and the story is great. Fav! I look forward to hearing about your new project.
August 21st, 2017  
@quietpurplehaze thanks haze. You are an experienced 100 stranger photographer. You would have asked johnny . Thanks for spotting the 99 typing error
August 21st, 2017  
@allie912 Allison thanks for your positive comments. The 99 error was a copy and paste issue😀
August 21st, 2017  
@tracie8266 thanks tracie. Once you have asked your first stranger it is easy 😀
August 21st, 2017  
@beryl Beryl thank you for your comment and appreciation of my 100th stranger 😀
August 21st, 2017  
@colinbarber013 cheers Colin 😀
August 21st, 2017  
@busylady thanks judith.i thought I might get stuck on 99 for a few weeks 😀
August 21st, 2017  
@happypat thanks pat. Nearly 2 years in the making of my 100 strangers. An excellent project to push my photography skills
August 21st, 2017  
Oh my goodness Phil - what a great end to your 100 project - worth the wait. Great abs... I mean story! Definitely a hero who provides a wonderful service, along with his fellow RNLI-ers.
August 21st, 2017  
A great achievement, Phil. I should imagine you must feel very proud, congratulations and well done!
A fab. image and a fine choice of subject for number 100, too.
I am a tremendous admirer of the people of the RNLI; they willingly give of their free time to help others, often at their own risk, and all unpaid. Hats off to Johnny and to you!
August 21st, 2017  
Awesome shot
August 21st, 2017  
Well done, Phil...100 up! Nice image...fav
August 22nd, 2017  
@nickspicsnz thanks nick , i am pleased you like this one :)

@dulciknit thanks alison, i think I got lucky having a finish like this one. You are right to admire the RNLI and it's people. I don't know whether or not Johnny and his lifeguard colleagues are volunteers or get paid. The lifeguards work all day long rather than on demand
August 22nd, 2017  
@kerristephens thanks kerri

@ivan thanks ivan for your kind comment and fave
August 22nd, 2017  
@phil_howcroft Interesting point re. the lifeguard's work and pay. I googled and found this : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10197113
I saw an RNLI lifeguard at Wells-Next-The-Sea in Norfolk recently, so I guess the arrangement may be happening all round the coast.
August 22nd, 2017  
Congrats on completion of such a project as this...
August 24th, 2017  
Fabulous and good looking way to end your 100 :-) What a great job to do for Johnny tho I think the Bahamas might be a bit more favourable!
August 25th, 2017  
Well done on completing this project Phil.
August 28th, 2017  
Leave a Comment
Sign up for a free account or Sign in to post a comment.