End of an Era for Roger
RNLI volunteer Roger Strawbridge ended a long and distinguished career as a sea-going crew member on 1 July after forty three and a half years of continuous service with the Fishguard lifeboat station.
Roger, a local fisherman joined the station as a 22 year old crew member on the Watson class all-weather lifeboat Howard Marryat in January 1974. During his time as a volunteer crew member he also served as emergency mechanic and second mechanic. He also crewed the inshore lifeboat when that arrived in 1995 until he reached the statutory retirement age for inshore lifeboat crew.
‘Yes, I’ve seen a few changes. When I started, we were called to a ‘shout’ by maroons being fired either from the coastguard or lifeboat station and now we have pagers. We also carry a lot more personal safety equipment now.
‘I can remember my first ‘shout’ was to take a doctor out to the Duke of Rothesay ferry, that would have been on the Howard Marryat. Since then I’ve crewed on the Arun class Marie Winstone and then on the Trent class Blue Peter VII which replaced her in 1994.’
Although Roger has now reached the age where he has to stand down as a sea going volunteer, he will not sever his ties with the RNLI as he will continue to serve as part of the shore crew.
Chairman of the Lifeboat Management Group, David Davies said:
‘Roger Strawbridge has served Fishguard and Goodwick Lifeboat Station with a willingness and dedication that few will be able to surpass. Over and above his actual RNLI role he is also well known for his many acts of kindness ashore to sailors the station has rescued and indeed, to any visitors to the area in difficulty. It has been a privilege to serve with him over the years.’
Roger’s last ‘shout’ was to attend a small dinghy off Strumble Head with engine failure.
During his time with the crew from 1 January 1974 until 1 July 2017 there have been 583 all-weather lifeboat launches and records from the RNLI headquarters in Poole show that 469 people have been rescued, of which 103 have been lives saved.
Notes to editors
Black and white photo of Roger Strawbridge – credit Jack Lowe/The Lifeboat Station Project
Colour Photos of Roger with crew – credit Paul Turner.
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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.