A generous £5000 donation left to the RNLI in memory of Humphrey Lestocq

Lifeboats News Release

Humphrey was for many years Hon. Secretary of Rye Harbour Lifeboat station in East Sussex and a well-loved local figure.

Family archives

Mary and Humphrey Lestocq

Last year in July his wife Mary died, leaving in her will a donation to the RNLI in memory of her late husband, Humphrey Lestocq. He was an actor in the early days of television and was one of the presenters of the TV series Whirligig, the first children’s programme to be broadcast live from the BBC’s Lime Grove Studios. Mary was a stage manager for many shows in London, including ‘Look Back in Anger’ but during the Actors’ strike in 1963 she became so disenchanted with her trade that she decided to take an entirely new career path. The couple moved to Rye and set up a business called ‘Mary and I’ and later Mary set up a photographic business which flourished, as she was very talented. Sheila Caister, who was Mary’s photographic assistant, recalls: ’ Mary was lovely to work for and had a sharp wit which often had us both in stitches. Her work was innovative. She photographed many local people and one of the funniest was when Spike Milligan asked me to hold a gun to his head. She was so much fun to work with and is sorely missed.’

They had a house built in the Harbour and during the time that they lived there they made many friends. Mary and ‘Humph’, as he was known to his friends, made frequent trips to the ‘Conk’, the local hostelry the real name of which is William the Conqueror, which was conveniently right next door. This is where the friendly couple got to know the crew-members of the Rye Harbour RNLI and a bond was forged. Humph became Hon. Secretary for many years.

When Mary was a youngster she spent many holidays in the East Neuk of Fife. With its many attractions and coastal harbours it is easy to see what drew her back so many times as an adult. It became her favourite part of Scotland: indeed, Humph’s and Mary’s boat, which they moored in Rye Harbour, was built at the shipyard of St. Monan’s.

It was no surprise that Mary’s ashes were cast on the sea in her favourite part of the world. Michael Gilbert, Mary’s step-son, presented the donation cheque to Ansthruther Coxswain Michael Bruce and Treasurer David Thomson who accepted it on behalf of the RNLI.

Legacies are vital to the RNLI because they help to train their volunteers to the highest standard which in turn Saves Lives at Sea.

RNLI Media contacts

Kt Bruce, Rye Harbour RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (07789) 818878 Kt@ktbrucephotography.com

• Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

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

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit https://www.rnli.org/.

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 237 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 180 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

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.

 

 

 

Anstruther RNLI

Michael Gilbert at Anstruther Lifeboat station RNLI
Mary and Humphrey outside their shop with their van advertising the shop

Family archive

Mary and Humphrey Lestocq outside their shop in Rye
Mary's two step-children holding Mary's ashes

Anstruther RNLI

Mary Lestocq's step-children Michael and Patricia in Scotland

Family archives

Mary Lestocq

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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