Harwich RNLI says a fond farewell to two dedicated volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

With over 40 years’ service between them, Craig Hope and Neal Sandquest will be sorely missed at Harwich RNLI when they leave their volunteer roles as Deputy Launch Authority and crew respectively.

RNLI/Peter Bull

Craig Hope with 30-years service medal, and Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal
June sees the retirement, after 32 years, of Craig Hope as a Deputy Launch Authority. A role he seamlessly carried out alongside his work for Harwich Haven Authority’s Vessel Traffic Service, which he is about to retire from after 38 years.

To mark the occasion, Craig was presented with a 30-year service medal by Harwich RNLI, along with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal. In his usual understated manor Craig responded by saying:

‘Why am I getting these, I only push the button to launch you, then sit back and watch you go down the harbour. You do all the hard work.’

Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) Peter Bull added:
'Craig and I started at the Harwich Haven Authority on the same day, and worked alongside each other for 11 years before I switched to Felixstowe. Craig has become the voice of the harbour, and will be sorely missed.

'It is people like Craig, and fellow Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) staff that help make Harwich RNLI’s role that much easier, often giving direct early warning of an incident.

'I would also like to thank Neal Sandquest for his 10 years of service, six as Coxswain, especially his support when I became LOM in 2021. Neal has decided to step away in order to spend more time with his young family, which is understandable, even if he will be greatly missed. I had to make the same choice myself in my earlier days. Work, RNLI, and quality time with your children when young; something often has to give. The RNLI is voluntary, and you can always come back. You can’t get back missed time with your children.

'We wish them both a happy future, and hope to see them popping in from time to time.'

If you would like to help make a real difference by saving lives with Harwich RNLI, please email me at [email protected] No experience is needed as full comprehensive training will be given.’

RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact:
Richard Wigley, RNLI Harwich volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07903424698 or [email protected],

Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824518641 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI/Harwich RNLI

Neal Sandquest with Stormy Stan

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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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