At 2am on Monday, as I was snoring in a warm bed, cat wrapped round my head, my friend Irenka was battling the stormy sea to reach a man who’d entered the water.

It was the second time that week that her alarm had shattered her sleep and she’d rushed from her own warm bed to dress, race to the marina and get out onto the water with her crew.

The week before she’d gone out to rescue a 58-year-old man who’d jumped from Brighton Palace Pier.

They treated him for hypothermia. He was lucky to be alive.

Monday’s victim was not so fortunate.

The cold sea took his life before the RNLI could save him.

Irenka was on the boat that brought him back in.

She said “My job is to warm people up and bring them home, I don’t stop to think about why or how they ended up in the water.

“When we get someone into the boat, we are too busy giving them first aid in case they deteriorate to think of anything else.

“You feel relief later. When it’s a body retrieved, feelings are a mix of subdued, tired and matter of fact. It’s a hard part of the job.”

As someone who was so poor at swimming – I had to practise my breaststroke on the cold tiles next to the pool while the rest of my class were in it – I have nothing but admiration for Irenka and her colleagues.

I think Irenka is one of the bravest women I know.

I don’t even like putting my hand into a cold bath to pull out the plug.

Sometimes I’ll see her on the school run just hours after she’s been out on the waves saving someone’s life.

I’ll be complaining that getting three kids out of the house that morning was too hard.

To look at her you would never know. If I had the guts (and skill) to do it, I’d walk round in full bright orange kit all the time, shouting at people for going near puddles “That’s how it starts” I’d say, and jot down their name.

If my pager beeped I’d start screaming “STAND ASIDE, I’m off to be heroic while you drink tea”.

Brighton has a completely ‘unmanned’ station, which means all the volunteer crew wear electronic pagers that could go off at any time. They often leave shopping at the checkout, abandon work or leave family at a moment’s notice.

For Irenka, this is one of the hardest parts. “On my side, it’s the planning and logistics involved daily to be on call that can be tricky,” she said. “But I enjoy doing it. I don’t judge the casualties as the water is a double edged sword. I feel secure knowing the training and equipment is excellent. We have woolly bear suits, dry suits, lifejacket, personal locator beacon, personal flares and fellow crew you can trust with your life.”

The RNLI is a charity run by volunteers. They are working to prevent drowning by 50 per cent by 2024 but go out when prevention fails.

The Argus: Ashley Harrold

Blatchington Mill School is planning to give students an hour longer in bed for “a more harmonious learning experience”.

Headteacher Ashley Harrold, pictured above, said: “With everything we do in school we want to take an approach of looking at research to see how to do things better for young people and families and then implement this in the school. We don’t think that school is the way it is and can never be changed.”

The new times proposed are 9.25am to 4pm, instead of 8.30am to 3pm.

I thought the time change would be welcome due to the decrease in congestion on weekday mornings, but the comments have been scathing.

One irate reader said “Not sure this is good preparation for the future. Who starts a job at 9 .25 except plumbers?” Well school is not actually a job and my plumber has been known to come before 9.25 (oh-errr).

“Left wing garbage, I know how my employer would react if I appeared for work ‘when I got up’.”

If it was based on when kids got up, school would start at 11am, unless it was at the weekend, when kids get up at 6.30am.

“I expect this fits in with the lazy headmaster... should be sacked immediately,” suggested another. Other comments included: “When they start work, they won’t be given late starts! Idiot idea and pandering to entitled snowflakes.” and: “Aw, diddums...let’s hope their extra hour in bed will be in safe spaces.”

Well, you certainly can’t call these people pessimists. They are sure there will be jobs for all these children in the future. There might even be technology in place so some of them can work from home… oh, hang on.