RNLI volunteer hangs up his lifejacket after five decades of service
This weeks training launch (6 November 2019) marked the final time RNLI volunteer Peter Poole would officially launch the boat as winchman.
Peter is retiring after 52 years with Padstow RNLI lifeboat, 21 years as a crew member and 31 years as winchman.
In his 21 years on the crew, Peter has been involved in countless rescues, and in the 70’s was twice awarded a Vellum for his part in the Calcutta Princess rescue and the Skopelos Sky rescue.
However, it was Peter’s first ever shout that captured his heart! After joining Padstow RNLI lifeboat crew in 1967 aged just 21, Peter’s first rescue was on a Lifeboat Harbour Day. The alarm was raised and the crew set off to assist a vessel which had drifted about 20 miles out with a father and five children on board. Peter recalls the look on the children's faces as they saw the lifeboat crew arriving, 'the look on their faces was worth more than any medal'.
Despite the great sense of reward that comes with saving lives at sea the thing Peter will miss the most and is his fondest memory of being part of the Padstow RNLI is the camaraderie, it really is a family. Peter has felt this not just with his colleagues in Padstow but beyond and across the RNLI.
Peter talking of his time with Padstow RNLI said: 'I’ve really enjoyed my time, I've served under five Coxswains and I couldn’t have asked for a better team. I was a small cog in a big wheel, I couldn't have done my job without the rest of the crew, the fundraisers and support teams on all sides. I intend to continue to support Padstow RNLI where I can in the future, I’m only a phone call away.'
Peter may be retiring but he will continue to enjoy this commoradre with visits to the station and a continued offer to help if they need him! He is also looking forward to the trip planned in January 2020 with some of the Padstow crew to visit friends at Kilmore Quay RNLI in Ireland.
Reflecting on Peter’s time with Padstow RNLI, Coxswain Richard Pitman said: 'It’s an incredible achievement, dedicating 52 years to saving lives at sea. Pete was a very reliable member of the team.'
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.