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Cromer RNLI volunteer recognised in King’s New Year Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised in His Majesty The King’s New Year Honours for their roles in helping the charity save lives at sea. One such volunteer is Cromer's own Edwin ‘Ted’ Luckin.

Ted Luckin

Nathan Williams

Ted joined the RNLI in 1960 when he was invited to join Cromer lifeboat as tractor driver and mechanic. He has since held wide-ranging roles at the station including being appointed senior helmsman of the station’s new inshore lifeboat (ILB) in 1965, taking part in more than 70 shouts, in which he is credited with saving many lives.

Now 93 years old, having given 62 years of dedicated service to the RNLI, he has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM). He retired from operational duty on the lifeboats in 2000 but remained as boathouse manager until he retired in September 2022 when he had a hip replacement, but plans to be back in the station before long.

Ted said: ‘It came as a bombshell when I got the letter – I was very surprised and very pleased to accept the honour.

‘There’s not many of us who’ve been able to be with the RNLI for as long as I have, and I feel proud for what I’ve been able to do. I’ve enjoyed 60 years on the station and I’ve had some lovely times.’

Ted is one of five RNLI volunteers who have been recognised by His Majesty The King for their incredible contribution to the charity and drowning prevention.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie said: ‘In 2022, the RNLI has seen a welcome return to volunteer recognition events following the pandemic, with hundreds being recognised for long service and excellence in volunteering awards. These six individuals represent the icing on the cake as we commemorate the contribution all our people have made in another busy year for our frontline services.

‘I have found you can never make assumptions about the people you meet in all roles within the RNLI; they all have fascinating back-stories and I often leave a visit feeling profoundly humbled. The stories behind these six are no exception, epitomising the RNLI’s values in all they do to save lives at sea. They richly deserve this national recognition – my congratulations to them all.’

For Ted, from jumping in a lifeboat in his swimming trunks whilst enjoying a day at the beach with his family, to advancements in technology and health and safety regulations, he has seen a lot of changes during his 62 years of service for Cromer Lifeboat Station.

He spent his first 40 years in operational roles such as Helmsman, Winch Operator and Mechanic, taking part in over 70 service calls. For the last few years, he has diligently looked after the appearance and cleanliness of the main boathouse at the end of Cromer Pier, in addition to his role as Treasurer of the crew fund, a task he carries out with scrupulous attention to detail.

In 2020, he was presented with his 60 years’ Long Service Award, an accolade bestowed on very few RNLI volunteers. He was first invited to join the crew at a time when this was considered an unusual invitation, as crew members were almost always fishermen. But while he was a not fisherman, he did work as a mechanic fixing boats, including Henry Blogg’s, the most decorated RNLI crew member of all time.

He initially started as the station’s maintenance mechanic and tractor driver, responsible for launching and recovering the lifeboat, before being made Senior Helmsman of the town’s new inshore lifeboat in 1965, a position he held for 12 years and during which, he is credited with saving many lives.

One shout he often quotes clearly demonstrates his can-do attitude and determination to carry out a rescue against all odds (whilst not in line with the operating procedures of the RNLI’s modern day lifesaving service).

The station only had three crew available, so he quickly taught a member of the public to release the sea catch and launch the Tyne class lifeboat, Ruby & Arthur Reid, before they picked up the Coxswain and 4th crew member from a crabbing boat on the way out. On their return, with no winch operator available, Ted himself had to get off the lifeboat onto the slipway to operate the winch and recover the lifeboat.

On another occasion when out on exercise, he was airlifted from the inshore lifeboat by a Wessex helicopter which was then diverted to Winterton for a rescue. Later, the helicopter returned to Cromer and the lifeboat was re-launched so he could be returned to his crew

Since retiring from active service, he took on the role of Boathouse Manager making sure it was kept to the highest standards for crew and visitors, always offering a friendly, supportive ear to make everyone feel at home. Whilst he hasn’t been able to keep up the frequency of these visits during Covid-19, he continues to regularly meet members of the station and has kept in touch with retired crew and their dependants, along with organising Christmas hampers and, sadly, helping get them to the funerals of former crew members.

He is the trusted advisor and source of inspiration for both past and current crew, all holding him in incredibly high esteem and valuing his friendship greatly. A true gentleman who has given over 60 years of dedicated service to the RNLI and his local community, he is thoroughly deserving of national recognition.

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Clare Stagg, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer: [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.

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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.