Two former Scarborough RNLI coxswains die on same day

Lifeboats News Release

The lifeboat house’s RNLI flag is at half mast in honour of Stuart Ogden and Richard Constantine, who both passed away in St Catherine’s hospice on Friday (25 February).

Both men were awarded an MBE for their services to the RNLI.

Lifeboat operations manager (LOM) Andy Volans said: 'The station learned with sadness of the loss of two fine lifeboat men who gave many years service to the station and the RNLI as crew and coxswains. Our thoughts and sympathy to their families.'

Stuart, who was coxswain from 1987-94, was succeeded by Richard, who served in the role from 1994-2003.

Stuart was appointed coxswain of the Amelia lifeboat in the spring of 1987, after four years as second coxswain. He was still at the helm four years later when the Amelia was replaced by the Mersey-class Fanny Victoria Wilkinson & Frank Stubbs.

On 28 and 29 October 1991, the new lifeboat, with Stuart in charge, teamed up with Filey lifeboat to spend all night searching for a missing fishing boat. In choppy seas and a fresh south-easterly wind, the two rescue craft looked in vain between 8.20pm and 5.30am, when they returned to base for the lifeboats to refuel and the crews to eat.

Stuart enlisted the help of several trawler skippers and broadened the search. With Stuart as on-scene commander, 21 vessels, now including Whitby lifeboat, conducted a systematic search. Sadly, an uncharted wreck was eventually found on the sea bed. The Scarborough lifeboat picked up a few police divers and took them to the scene.

The RNLI’s chief of operations, Commodore George Cooper, sent Stuart a formal letter of appreciation in recognition of 'the excellent way in which you led this long and intensive search.'

Former LOM Colin Lawson joined the inshore lifeboat crew in 1978 and was persuaded to double up, becoming a member of both crews, by Stuart in 1983. They became firm friends.

'He could be severe,' Colin recalls. 'He took no prisoners and you had to match up to his exacting standards whether you liked it or not. He revamped the whole thinking about the offshore boat and crew training became a serious issue under Stuart,' Colin said.

'Just before the Mersey went, we took him for a final spin and he took the wheel just as though he had never left it.'

Colin Woodhead, who chairs Scarborough RNLI’s management committee, said: 'Richard was a real gentleman, a lovely chap. I saw him just before Christmas, walking on the Marine Drive, and he was looking forward to going back to Spain for a couple of months.'

Richard became coxswain / mechanic, a full-time role, during the 16 years that Fred Normandale was LOM. Fred describes his old friend as 'totally reliable - he kept his boat immaculate. We went to Graham Sea Training School together, he was a year above me. He was a fantastic footballer and played with us at the Penguins.'

Another lifelong friend, George Westwood, said Richard was a panel beater at Plaxton then became a fisherman, working on trawlers and cobles. He ran speedboats for visitors out of the harbour for a couple of summers. George and Richard were best man at each other’s weddings.

Richard was formally thanked by the RNLI in recognition of his seamanship, skill and determination after a particularly difficult shout in 1994. The Mersey lifeboat repeatedly manoeuvred close to the sea-wall in confused breaking seas in the north bay, in an attempt to rescue someone who had gone into the sea to save a dog.

RNLI Media contacts

  • For details, ring Scarborough RNLI press officer Dave Barry on 07890 322992.
Stuart Ogden at the wheel of the Amelia
Stuart Ogden at the wheel of the Amelia
Stuart Ogden
Stuart Ogden
Richard Constantine
Richard Constantine
Richard Constantine, front left, with fellow crew
Richard Constantine, front left, with fellow crew
Richard Constantine receives an MBE from the Queen
Richard Constantine receives an MBE from the Queen

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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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