St Bees volunteers celebrate the life of Captain Goldwater.
On the 10 October 2019 the crew at St Bees were saddened to hear that their former Operations Manager Captain Leon Goldwater had passed away after a short illness.
Leon who would have been 87 next month spent many years serving in the Merchant Navy gaining his Master Mariners Certificate before leaving in 1970 to take up a role in teaching. During this time Leon started volunteering for Hartlepool RNLI before moving to Cumbria in 1972 to work as a Probation Officer.
Leon started with St Bees RNLI in 1973 as Honorary Secretary (Hon. Sec. now called Lifeboat Operations Manager). Previous sea going experience along with his time on Hartlepool’s all weather lifeboat meant Captain Goldwater was well qualified for the new position at St Bees. As Hon. Sec. Leon was responsible for the lifeboat and crew as well as the day-to-day running of the station and remained in charge at St Bees until 2001.
During his time at the station it went from just being operational during the summer months to being open all year round. He oversaw the introduction of three different lifeboats and the building of a new station. Whilst Leon was in charge St Bees RNLI were involved in many different rescues including fishing boats that had gone onto the rocks, boats with engine failure, children cut off by the tide and even helping the Royal Navy’s bomb disposal team when a fishing trawler dragged up a live bomb.
After Leon stepped down as Operations Manager he took the position of Press Officer until 2014 and in 2007 he became Chairman of the Lifeboat Management Group. Captain Leon Goldwater was proud of his many years service to the RNLI and his lifeboat family at St Bees, he continued to visit the station on Tuesday nights to see the crew train and make sure they kept up the high standards he set during his time.
After 40 years volunteering with the RNLI Leon was made an Honorary Life Governor in 2010.
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.