Donate now

Remembering Billy Budge MBE

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI remembers Billy Budge, ex-Longhope Lifeboat Coxswain

1970 crew photo with the David and Elizabeth King & E.B.


Billy with the Longhope Lifeboat David and Elizabeth King & E.B. and 1970 crew

On 17 March 1969, James William (Billy) Budge, stepped aside to allow his best mate, Ericie McFadyen, to board the Longhope Lifeboat, T.G.B. Little did he know that this would be the last time that he would see him alive. Later that evening the T.G.B. capsized with the loss of all crew.

The tragic events of that night had a profound effect on Billy and, when the time came to form a new crew, he was one of the first volunteers to step forward.

In February 1972, while Billy was serving as Bowman onboard Longhope Lifeboat the David and Elizabeth King & E.B., they were called out to a particularly difficult rescue of the crew from a trawler, the Ross Tern. For this outstanding rescue, Coxswain Jack Leslie was awarded the RNLI Bronze Medal.

Perhaps best remembered by many as a musician, wordsmith and raconteur, Billy spent most of his life as a creel fisherman on the Pentland Firth. He served with the Longhope Lifeboat from 1969 to 1994, becoming Coxswain in 1988. For his dedicated service to the RNLI, he was awarded the MBE.

After his retirement, Billy and his wife Maggie, both being well known around the north of Scotland, visited other lifeboat stations, catching up with the many great friends they had made over the years of his service with the RNLI.

Billy was a true character in the broadest sense of the word and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Our thanks to Angus Budge, Billy's son, for sharing these words.

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.