Neil Dalton

I have been actively involved with NILA since the beginning, taking on the role of Chairman.

I am also Chairman of East Sutherland Rescue Association (ESRA) which operates out of Dornoch Firth in northern Scotland, having helped set up the organisation in 1987.

I have forty years experience operating an Inshore Lifeboat, and am a qualified Power Boat and Rescue Boat instructor as well as an instructor for the RYA Marine Radio certificate.


I started work at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital in Sheffield, qualifying in 1970; I then went on to work as a lecturer at the University of Sheffield Dental School, teaching student dentists the fine arts of the technical side of prosthetic dentistry. During my time there, I gained a further two specialist qualifications and an FE Teaching qualification, and also worked as a lecturer at Richmond College of FE in Sheffield.

During this period, I played football, cricket, tennis, and my real passion, squash, which I played competitively until 2002.

My main interests at that time centred around the Scout Association and I became as a Venture Scout Leader and edited a local scouting magazine. I continued this interest when I arrived in Dornoch and assisted in resurrecting the 1st Dornoch Scout Troop as a Sea Scout Troop.

In 1979 I moved to Dornoch as part of the dental team, my first wife being a dentist, founding Morven Technical Services Ltd in 1980 and retiring in 2021.

Due to my prior MRT experience, I was involved in an extensive search for a missing person in 1981. Following this, a colleague suggested setting up an organisation to assist the Police in an emergency. The idea of a lifeboat was a product of a meeting with the Chief Inspector of Police stationed in Dornoch in 1981, who shared his concerns over the availability of a boat in emergencies.

This idea became a reality in 1982 with much help and sponsorship from HMCG, who set up an auxiliary team in Dornoch followed by a Sector office. I served as Auxiliary in Charge (now station officer) until the decision in 1987 to completely separate HMCG and the East Sutherland Rescue Association (ESRA). I decided to continue as first helm of ESRA’s lifeboat.

During the 1980s I also served in the Royal Observer Corps as leading observer on 31 post.

In the early 2000s I diversified my business interest by working as a part-time driving instructor.


I have continued to assist with crew participation at ESRA in a training capacity, although my operational role is now as the launching authority and driving the launching vehicle (except in an extreme emergency).

I re-married in 1988 to Lorna and have two stepchildren.

I recently had a book about ESRA (East Sutherland Rescue Association), published for the organisation’s 40th anniversary.