RNLI honours Angle lifeboat volunteer for 40 years of dedicated service

Lifeboats News Release

An Angle RNLI volunteer crew member has been honoured for his long and devoted service to the charity that saves lives at sea.

Derek Richards, honoured for 40 years of dedicated service to the RNLI.

Martin Cavaney Photography

Derek Richards, honoured for 40 years of dedicated service to the RNLI.

Derek Richards was presented with his 40-year Long Service Badge by the Chairman of the RNLI, Stuart Popham, at a ceremony at the New House Country House Hotel, Cardiff. He was accompanied by his wife Lisa and they were joined by award-winning lifeboat volunteers and fundraisers from all parts of the UK.

Two years ago, Derek’s brother, Angle’s Second Coxswain Danny Richards, was presented with a 40-year Long Service Badge at an RNLI awards ceremony at Swansea.

Derek joined the Angle station as a volunteer in 1978 and has served in three all-weather lifeboats there, the Watson class Richard Vernon and Mary Garforth of Leeds, the Tyne class The Lady Rank and the Tamar class Mark Mason, as well a D-class inshore lifeboat Isabella Mary.

He has also served with six coxswains, Rees Holmes to 1981; Gerald Edwards (Derek’s brother), 1981-1993; Jeremy Rees, 1993-2010; Lee Firmin (Staff Coxswain), 2010; Andy Elliott, 2010-2013 and Lewis Creese, 2013-to date.

In 1997 he was one of seven Angle lifeboat crew members who received awards for saving four lives in a Force 8 gale off Skomer Island, when a disabled passenger boat was snatched from the foot of 80 foot cliffs.

On May 5 of that year The Lady Rank was launched to assist the motor vessel Dale Princess, which had anchored in North Haven, Skomer Island, to effect engine repairs. Her anchors were dragging and the vessel was in danger of being driven ashore.

During the six-hour service, which involved manoeuvring the lifeboat in a tiny cove battered by the onshore gale, Coxswain Jeremy Rees took the lifeboat near enough to connect a tow, despite the treacherous backwash from the cliff. The Dale Princess, with her crew, was then towed to Neyland Marina.

It was an outstanding rescue and Coxswain Jeremy Rees was later awarded the RNLI’s Bronze Medal for bravery. Medal Service Badges were awarded to crew member Derek and his brother Danny (Second Coxswain), Adam Stringer (Assistant Mechanic) and crew members Roger O’Callaghan (Derek’s father-in-law), David Lawrence and Bernard Jonker.

Angle is one of the busiest lifeboat stations in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, with over 60 call-outs so far this year.

RNLI media contacts: For more information please telephone Ted Goddard, Angle RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 01437 763675 or email ted.goddard@hotmail.com.

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, in a normal year, 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.

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