Two retirements, four long service awards mark 163 years of service
Over 160 years of service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was celebrated by the crew and families from Macduff Lifeboat Station at a private dinner in January. At the dinner held at the Banff Springs Hotel, two crew members retired and four crew members were awarded RNLI long service badges.
Speaking before the dinner, Roy Morrison Lifeboat Operations Manager at Macduff RNLI said: ‘The RNLI has a long and proud history of saving lives at sea along the coast of North Aberdeenshire and we couldn’t do our lifesaving work without dedicated volunteers like those we are going to award this evening’.
First to be recognised for his 33 years service to Macduff Lifeboat Station was John Ingram, who retired from his role as Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) at the end of 2018.
John joined Macduff Lifeboat in 1985 as a member of the Shore Crew where he served until 2006 when he stood down and took on the role of Deputy Launching Authority.
The second retirement to be recognised was that of William ‘John’ West who retired after 32 years of service.
John West was the Harbourmaster at Macduff and ideally placed to be a DLA for the lifeboat. John joined in 1986 and was DLA until 1990 when he became the Honorary Secretary for Macduff RNLI, a position he held until 2000 after which he returned to being one of the stations DLAs.
The first of the Long Service Medals was presented to Derek Mair who decided to stand down after 20 years service.
Derek joined the Shore Crew at Macduff in 1998. During his service Derek was one of the Launch & Recovery vehicle drivers and plant operators. From 2014 Derek was the Launch & Recovery Plant Mechanic at the station.
Speaking after the presentations Roy Morrison added: ‘collectively these three guys have dedicated 85 years’ service to the RNLI, for that we are truly grateful and appreciate all that they have done during their time at Macduff.
‘We wish them all the best in their retirement and look forward to seeing them from time to time at the station.’
Colin Wood was the next recipient of a Long Service Medal.
Colin joined the lifeboat in 1997 and has been Shore Crew and Boat Crew during this time. Colin was presented with a 20 year long service medal by Coxswain Chassey Findlay who said: ‘Colin is a safe pair of hands both onshore and on the boat, you know you can rely on Colin whatever the circumstances.’
The final Long Service Medal presented on the night was to Macduff RNLI Lifeboat Coxswain Andrew ‘Chassey’ Findlay who was presented with a 30 year medal by Roy Morrison.
Chassey joined the Boat Crew at Macduff in 1987 and during his 32 years with the RNLI he has been a constant member of the Boat Crew. In 1990 he became the Helmsman a role he still holds along with being the stations Inshore Lifeboat Maintenance Mechanic 1994 – current and a RNLI Training Assessor 2003 – current
David Park was unable to attend the dinner and was presented with his 20 year Long Service Medal at the station a few days later by Area Lifesaving Manager, Henry Weaver.
David joined the Boat Crew in 1995 and quickly reached the level of Helmsman which he maintained until 2015 when he stood down and joined the Shore Crew.
Roy Morrison said of the long service awards: ‘Colin Wood, David Park and Andrew Findlay all joined the lifeboat service as young lads and between them they have served the RNLI for almost 80 years’ their commitment and continued dedication to the service is commendable’.
‘They are all volunteers and are ordinary people who do extraordinary things and without them the RNLI wouldn’t be the service that it is today’.
Chassey Findlay said: ‘with over 160 years of volunteering service between us it is testament not only to the character of the volunteers but also the RNLI, as the charity that saves lives at sea, they make sure that we are supported, equipped and trained so when the worst happens at sea we are ready and able to help people in need.’
He continued: ‘While tonight was about long service medals and retirements, we cannot go without mentioning all the other volunteers at Macduff who give their time selflessly every week for training and drop everything when the pagers go off. The younger crew members are training and learning all the time and I am confident that Macduff Lifeboat will be in safe hands for many years to come.’
Notes to editors
• John West & John Ingram were presented with certificates of service from the RNLI and tide clocks from the crew.
• David Park was not able to attend the dinner due to being held offshore by inclement weather
• John West 32 years service
• John Ingram 33 years service
• Derek Mair 20 years service
• Colin wood 22 years service
• David Park 24 years service
• Chassey Findlay 32 years service
• RNLI Macduff lifeboat B-804 Lydia Macdonald is a B class Atlantic 85 which carries 4 crew
• Lydia Macdonald is unique within the RNLI being the only lifeboat that is launched from a mobile crane. This method of launch allows the lifeboat to be launched from other locations should the need arise
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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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