Whitby RNLI Coxswain Mike Russell hangs up his wellies for the last time
Mike, who turned 60 on Saturday (12 August) joined Whitby RNLI back in 1987 while he was working on a fishing boat and running a fishing shop. He has provided 30 years of loyal service to the RNLI.
His longest shout spanned 22 hours at sea, on a search for two lads in a small fishing vessel, who they eventually found and rescued.
But even on these long, and often rough shouts, Mike has never suffered from sea sickness. He said: 'Sea sickness can hit anyone, even the most experienced seaman, I've been very lucky.'
‘I've grown very close to many of our fundraisers over the years, they raise money, raise awareness, they even bring me Cornish pasties. We wouldn't be here without them.'
Station mechanic Richard Dowson said: 'Mike has been an inspiration to most of the crew at Whitby, he has been the only coxswain most of us have ever known. From joining the crew 15 years ago Mike was always someone I looked up to.
'I was over the moon when I was appointed station mechanic and knew I would be working with Mike day to day. Our working relationship has been the best I have ever had, but in a job like this it needs to be. From me and all the crew I wish Mike a long and happy retirement and hope to see him in the Black Horse as usual every Friday teatime!'
RNLI Media contacts
For more information please call Ceri Oakes, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07813 359428.
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 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.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland