RNLI Wells crew member receives MBE for 53 years service of saving lives at sea

Lifeboats News Release

After the announcement in December 2020, Philip Eaglen, 71, of Wells-next-the-Sea, was awarded his MBE medal during a ceremony at the Norfolk Club on Wednesday 3 November.

Philip holding his MBE and speaking to The Lady Dannatt, The Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk

RNLI/Angel Eaglan

Philip with The Lady Dannatt, The Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk

Philip began volunteering for the RNLI at the age of 16 years old. At the time he worked in a shop on Wells Quay selling seaside souvenirs. The owner of the shop had two sons who worked there too, and were already volunteers with the RNLI. One day the maroon to muster the crew was fired and Philip was encouraged to join his colleagues on the mile run down the Beach Road to the lifeboat station. That was enough to capture Philip’s passion for helping save lives at sea, and he joined the RNLI a year later.

Through hard work and determination, Philip has achieved many roles during his time in service. He has been mechanic, launcher, tractor driver and head tractor driver. He has covered other stations on a temporary basis when there has been a need, including Harwich, Amble, Seahouses and Skegness. Once, when he was covering at Seahouses Lifeboat Station, he was called out on a shout to take the fire service across the water to Holy Island to put out a chimney fire.

Philip has put out his own share of fires as he was also a retained fire fighter in Wells for many years; wanting to help people is who he is. On one occasion, Philip and his firefighting colleagues were returning from a shout, when he was alerted to the lifeboat being launched. The fire engine chased down the Beach Road and dropped Philip off at the lifeboat house so that he could assist with the call; he rushed from one emergency to another!

Philip has served under five different Coxwains during his 53 years so far; David Cox, Tony Jordan, Graham Walker, Alan Frary and the current Nicky King. He is the longest serving crew member of RNLI Wells and will continue his excellent and loyal service up until the arrival of the Duke of Edinburgh, the new Shannon Lifeboat arriving in late Autumn 2022.

On asking Philip what will he miss about being a crew member with RNLI Wells, he said quite simply, ‘the people.'


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.

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.

About the author

Justine Sykes

Lifeboat Press Officer, Wells-next-the-Sea Lifeboat Station

Philip celebrating his MBE with his grand daughter, Angel Eaglen, his wife, Heather Eaglen, and The Lady Dannatt, The Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk

RNLI

Philip celebrating his MBE with his grand daughter, Angel Eaglen, his wife, Heather Eaglen, and The Lady Dannatt, The Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk
Philip wearing his MBE medal alongside other medals on Remembrance Sunday, 14 November.

RNLI/Justine Sykes

Philip wearing his MBE medal alongside other medals on Remembrance Sunday, 14 November.

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.

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