Littlehampton RNLI volunteer celebrates 50 years’ service
Geoff Warminger is celebrating an incredible 50 years of volunteering at Littlehampton RNLI.
A much-loved and popular figure at the lifeboat station, Geoff is Littlehampton RNLI’s longest-serving volunteer. He joined as crew in 1972 at the age of 31 and for 20 years was crew (latterly as helm) of the station’s famous Blue Peter I lifeboat. During this time, Geoff saved 246 casualties. Geoff then served as Deputy Launching Authority for a further 20 years – a role in which he was responsible for authorising the launch of the station’s lifeboat when it was called into action.
His length of service as crew and station official have been recognised by previous awards, and he attended the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, in 1989. He also holds the RNLI’s Gold Badge in recognition of his dedication to the charity.
On 19 September 1981, Geoff was a member of Littlehampton RNLI’s crew who were recognised for their bravery rescuing a 40-foot boat in a force 10 gale. Geoff and fellow crew member, Mike McCartain (who is now Littlehampton RNLI’s Chair), received a framed Letter of Thanks from the RNLI, while helm, David Woollven, received the Thanks Inscribed on Vellum. More than 40 years on, Mike and David both recently visited the lifeboat station to present Geoff with his 50-year service medal.
Now 81, Geoff acts as Boathouse Manager. In this role, he’s responsible for overseeing maintenance and safety within the boathouse, which includes cajoling the crew to keep everything at the lifeboat station clean and tidy. This is a role he takes extremely seriously, earning him the affectionate nickname of ‘Queen of Clean’. Geoff is also responsible for ensuring an endless supply of tea and biscuits in the crew room.
Geoff said: ‘I’ve enjoyed my past 50 years with the RNLI at Littlehampton and, if I could turn the clock back, I would do it all again. I suppose my highlight would be attending the Queen’s Garden Party and meeting some of the Royal Family, as well as meeting the Blue Peter presenters Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and John Noakes when they visited the lifeboat station.’
Nick White, Littlehampton RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘Geoff continues to be an ever-present at the boathouse, always getting stuck into whatever task needs attention and our “go-to” for almost anything that needs to be done. He’s been a great servant to our station, and to the RNLI, and is held in high regard by everyone.’
Mike McCartain added: ‘Geoff has been a tour de force at Littlehampton Lifeboat Station. From crew to helm, DLA and shore crew, he has been a constant and superb example of the very best values and education of the RNLI and we are delighted he has been recognised for his 50 years’ service.’
Notes to editors
Littlehampton RNLI’s volunteer crew look after the stretch of the West Sussex coast between Bognor Regis and Worthing. Littlehampton RNLI is independent from the Coastguard. To find out more about Littlehampton RNLI, see https://rnli.org/news-and-media/2022/april/27/10-facts-about-littlehampton-rnli-lifeboat-station
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07544 209256 [email protected]
Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer, London and South East
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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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