Clacton RNLI honour crew members’ 20 years service award

Lifeboats News Release

A long standing and dedicated team member of the Clacton RNLI volunteer crew celebrated 20 years of service and was awarded a long service medal during a presentation in the presence of the station crew on Wednesday 6 October 2021.

RNLI Clacton David Wells and Chris French who received 20 year service award

RNLI/Mark Walsham

RNLI Clacton David Wells and Chris French who received 20 year service award

Chris French, Lifeboat Training Co-ordinator and Deputy Launch Authority joined the Clacton team in April 2001, after moving to the area from Hackney in London.

Although he felt the challenge was huge, he approached the station and volunteered for a position within the volunteer crew.

Chris commented: 'I didn’t think I had much chance of joining the lifeboat crew as I had limited experience of being afloat, but I needn’t have worried as they taught me everything I needed to know.

'At the time our lifeboat station was based on Clacton pier and the smaller inshore lifeboat was in our boat house on the promenade. The training was split between the lifeboat station and the RNLI’s training centre on the Isle of Wight, and there was and as is now so much support to help you train and achieve some outstanding things within the role.'

Initially starting as shore crew, Chris quickly progressed within a year to be a full crew member, achieving the position of helmsmen in 2004, a role in which he remained in until he took his current roles.

When asked about his time at the Clacton station, Chris commented: 'Twenty years has flown by but our Clacton lifeboat crew is so well established that 20 years’ service is the norm with many of the long serving crew having completed 25 plus years. Indeed our Lifeboat Operations Manager, David Wells has completed over 40 years.

'I have some great memories of shouts over the last 20 years and have always found it extremely rewarding. I've always felt extremely privileged to be part of the lifeboat crew at Clacton, it is a station and team second to none, totally reliant on each other.'

David Wells, Lifeboat Operations Manager added:'It is an absolute pleasure to award Chris his 20 year service medal, he has always shown dedication, determination and professionalism in everything he has done within the RNLI. For myself and on behalf of crew, both current and past who have served alongside him, we offer Chris our sincere thanks for your service and we look forward to working alongside you for another 20 years!

'Our volunteers are at the heart of the RNLI. Without all our volunteers - crew, lifeguards, fundraisers, education presenters, shop, community safety, museum and others – the RNLI wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea.'

RNLI Media contacts

For more information, please contact, Mark Walsham, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, email: [email protected]

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.