Accolades in abundance after death of former long serving Exmouth RNLI Coxswain
Exmouth RNLI crew and volunteers were saddened this week to learn of the death of former Lifeboat Coxswain Mechanic, Tim Mock on 10th April 2021, after a short illness.
Tim served for 34 years, joining as a crew volunteer in April 1980 aged 21 before becoming Boats Mechanic just three years later in 1983, a post he excelled at for 30 years.
From 1998 he became the town’s RNLI Coxswain / Mechanic, a position he held with great distinction before finally hanging up his pager and returning his keys to the lifeboat station on Christmas Day 2013, officially retiring in February 2014.
During his service he experienced an impressive 14 different lifeboat classes, worked under 15 RNLI Inspectors and was Coxswain of both the Exmouth RNLI Trent Class Lifeboat
14-12 Forward Birmingham and later Mersey Class Lifeboat 12-21 Margaret Jean,
saving thousands of lives in the course of a quite incredible career of dedication, bravery, leadership and astute seamanship.
As well as numerous RNLI awards during his career, including a prestigious RNLI Certificate of Service, his remarkable service to the local lifesaving charity was met with several community awards. Upon his retirement in 2013 he received an Honourary Membership of the Exe Sailing Club, and in 2014 the Rotary Club Citizen of the Year Award as well as the Exmouth Town Council Town Shield marking “The Town Council’s gratitude for his many years of service on behalf of the town.”
George Rawlinson, former RNLI Operations and Safety Director and current volunteer chair of the UK’s National Water Safety Forum said, “So sad to hear about Tim. A fine man and coxswain, and committed to the Exmouth lifeboat station and RNLI. I spent a lot of time with him when I was Inspector of lifeboats working through the challenges of operating from the lock site with the Trent on the mooring and the ILB down the road. My condolences to Henry and all the family, we will miss him and remember fondly his inspirational character.”
Andrew Woods, Operations Manager at the RNLI, said “So sorry to hear about the loss of Tim. A absolute stalwart in Exmouth RNLI history. I have very fond memories of working with him and enjoying a pint after. Lovely man and surely missed by all that knew him.”
Vice Chair of Devon County Council and Former Exmouth Mayor, Jeff Trail BEM, said “Exmouth will remember Tim for his long and exemplary service to the towns residents and its visitors. In times of need, the Coxswain is ‘at the helm’ and making those all important decisions, very often in extremely hazardous and risky conditions, and Tim’s long service has shown that his decisions over the years have saved many, many lives.”
Chair of Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat Management Group, Simon Davidson, said “"Even within the RNLI, people of the stature, personality, and with the devotion to service of Tim Mock are rare: no wonder that he was held in such high regard and affection by all who knew him. His family, friends, fellow volunteers and Exmouth have lost a colossus. Rest In Peace Tim."
Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Ian Taylor said, “Tim was always the archetypal lifeboatman to me, not only strong and calm whatever the situation, but he also looked like a lifeboatman. He didn’t need to wear a “Stormy Stan” outfit to give you the reassurance that this was someone you could rely on. To me he was a larger than life character you were glad to know and proud to serve under.”
Exmouth RNLI Coxswain, Steve Hockings-Thompson, said, “It was an honour to take over as Coxswain when Tim retired. He was always there for advice and guidance which was a great help.”
Second Coxswain, Scott Ranft, paid his respects, “I joined the lifeboat crew at the start of 1999 when Tim was fairly new in post as the full time coxswain mechanic, having previously been the mechanic. Tim was always supportive to me as I learnt the role as crew, and he was happy to impart his knowledge and experience of the role. He was a very hands on Coxswain in terms of Station and crew management and carried out his day to day duties diligently. When I was selected to be a navigator a few years later Tim again supported me and assisted in my development, which continued on to the deputy coxswain role, when he coached me on exercises and shouts.”
Deputy Coxswain, Roger Jackson gave his memories, “Tim will be deeply missed by so many people locally as well as around the coast of the UK. A true RNlI legend and will always be part of Exmouth Lifeboat history. He was a true friend as well as a fantastic leader of lifeboat crews around the coast. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Tim’s wealth of knowledge and skill of training us so well. Sleep well Tim we will all miss you so much. Look after us when we are out on a shout as I know you will still be watching us and wishing us safe. Thank you. God bless.”
Former Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Kevin Riley, said, “Tim without a doubt started the growth and sound operational procedures that brought Exmouth Lifeboats, its Station and the crew into the 21st Century and we should all be eternally grateful that Exmouth had this man to do that. His legacy lives on.”
Volunteer RNLI Crew and Inshore Lifeboat Helm, David Preece recalls, “I’d go anywhere in any conditions with Tim at the helm and his passion and professionalism is why we still have a Shannon lifeboat at Exmouth. Exmouth and the RNLI owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Volunteer RNLI Crew, Inshore Lifeboat Helm and Navigator, Guy Munnings, said of Tim “I am fortunate enough to have served under Tim on many shouts in all sorts of weather always with full confidence that we would return safely. Whether we were crossing the bar at Salcombe in a Force 9 and the boat touching bottom or taking a large wave over the USP, Tim would take these things with his usual calmness and would just give a sly smile and a raised eyebrow. He never demanded respect, he earned it through his knowledge and seamanship. He was always calm, never raised his voice in anger and used to teach with a combination of wit and sarcasm. He was a huge asset to Exmouth, Exmouth lifeboat station and to the RNLI. He will be sorely missed and I will always remember him with fondness, admiration and respect.”
Volunteer RNLI Crew and Assistant Mechanic, Paul Balbi, said "I shall always remember Tim as a good friend and RNLI colleague going back many years. One of Tim's favourite quotes when we spoke about mechanical problems was 'It could be anything, and probably is !'. That never failed to raise a smile."
Crew / Shorecrew volunteer, Ed Steele, said “Very sorry to hear about Tim. Although I didn’t know him well, having joined the station after his retirement as Coxswain, I have fond memories of him - sat in the sun on the benches overlooking the ramp - chatting to old friends and crew mates just returned from a shout. His enduring affection for the lifeboat service was palpable, and his pride in Henry obvious.”
Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat Fundraising Team Secretary, Alison Strang-Faulds, said, “Tim was one of life’s great heroes. I met him on the 10th of April 1983 as we listened on the Coastguard radio to the unfolding drama of Salcombe lifeboat capsizing. Little did I realise then that he would become a permanent ( call outs allowing) feature of Sunday lunches, read Topsy and Tim stories to my children and teach them to ride their bikes, marry my best friend and always be there to fix whatever electrical or mechanical problems anyone might have. He was more than just a lifeboat hero.”
Former Exmouth RNLI Shop Manager, Margaret Eaglesham, said “As Manager of the RNLI shop during Tim’s time as Coxswain, he helped and advised me on several occasions, especially when the new Station was ready for use. The shop’s office was bare! Tim found an old office desk and helped put it in and gave ideas for shelving and where the counter should go. During those first few months he was always available for help and ideas....most reliable.”
Tim is survived by his wife, Mel and son Henry who has followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Exmouth lifesavers as a crew volunteer in 2011 aged 17. He is currently a fully qualified RNLI Inshore Lifeboat Helm, Head Launcher and Tractor Driver.
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.