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Long serving Sheerness RNLI lifeboat volunteer retires

Lifeboats News Release

After 46 years of service Colin ‘Washy’ Washford has finally retired from his duties with the Sheerness RNLI lifeboat

Colin Washford who has retired after 46 years service with the Sheerness RNLI lifeboat

RNLI/Vic Booth

Colin 'washy' Washford

Fellow crew members past and present gave ‘Washy’ a special send off at the lifeboat stations annual dinner on Saturday 19 November at the Sheerness Golf Club

Sheerness lifeboat management chairman Andy Willmore outlined Colin’s illustrious career with the Sheerness lifeboat before presenting him with framed certificates of his achievements as a crew member over the years.

On behalf of the present crew members Coxswain Robin Castle and Second Coxswain Paul Jarvis presented Colin with a bronze lifeboat man figurine and a bottle of his favourite tipple before wishing him a long and happy retirement.

Colin who is a born and bred Islander was one of the original Sheerness lifeboat crew when the Sheerness RNLI lifeboat station was made permanent in 1970 .

The lifeboat at the time was a Watson class vessel named ‘Gertrude which was based in the Great Basin in Sheerness Docks

Colin who worked as a stevedore in the dockyard was ideally placed to be a volunteer lifeboat crew member, eventually reaching the rank of Second Coxswain, a position he held for 10 years.

Colin ‘retired’ in 1999 but after being approached by the lifeboat committee came back on board as secretary and in 2002 took over as lifeboat operations manager.

Being part of the lifeboat community has been a big part of Colin’s life as his father was the original Second Coxswain , brother Tony was also a long term crew member as was brother in law Peter

One of Colin’s most memorable callouts was back in 1976 when the Sheerness Waveney Class lifeboat ‘Helen Turnbull , with Coxswain Charlie Bowry in charge, was called to assist a vessel, the ‘Eladnit’, that had run aground in gale force winds on the West Barrow Bank close to the Redsands Towers some 10 miles from Sheerness

After locating the vessel the coxswain made the decision to anchor the lifeboat and Colin and fellow crew member Malcolm Keen were tasked to row a line across to the casualty.

After three attempts they finally managed to get the line attached to the vessel and it was then towed to safety.

The coxswain received an RNLI bronze medal and the crew members received congratulatory certificates for their efforts.

The crew and all members of the Sheerness RNLI lifeboat community wish Colin a long and happy retirement.


RNLI media contacts

Vic Booth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer (Sheerness) 07926904453 / 01795 880544 /

Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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