Eastbourne RNLI volunteers represent maritime communities at St Paul’s Cathedral
Mark Sawyer, coxswain/mechanic at Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat station travelled to London recently to attend the Annual National Service for Seafarers held at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Mark, who has been an RNLI volunteer for 32 years and full-time coxswain for 21 years, was accompanied by his wife Trina Sawyer, who is Social Media Officer at the station. The station was chosen to attend as 2022 marks the 200th anniversary of Eastbourne’s first purpose-built lifeboat.
With them at the service was Eastbourne volunteer crew mechanic Alan Simister and volunteers from Fishguard RNLI, which is also marking its 200th anniversary this year. RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie was also in attendance.
‘I was immensely proud, along with Eastbourne RNLI volunteer crew member Alan Simister to represent the RNLI at the Annual National Service for Seafarers at St Paul’s Cathedral,’ said Mark. ‘It was certainly a very special occasion’.
‘The fact that Eastbourne lifeboats are 200 years old this year made it extra special and I’m looking forward to celebrating the RNLI’s 200th anniversary in 2024 as Eastbourne coxswain’.
The service has been held in St Paul’s Cathedral each October each year since 1905 with a few exceptions due to the first and second world wars and the recent pandemic.
The Eastbourne and Fishguard crews were joined by representatives from the Royal and Merchant Navies, the commercial world, shipping companies, mission and philanthropic societies, schools and museums, veterans’ associations, labour unions, youth and leisure organisations
The choir during the service was made up from schools including London Nautical, Pangbourne College, Royal Hospital School, The Royal School, and music is performed by The Royal Marine Band.
Both Eastbourne and Fishguard RNLI are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year. Fishguard RNLI representative Roger Strawbridge and crew member Steven Done, also attended the event.
Photo 1: Eastbourne RNLI coxswain Mark Sawyer (centre) with Trina Sawyer and volunteer mechanic Alan Simister (right).
Photo 2: Eastbourne RNLI coxswain Mark Sawyer (second left) Eastbourne volunteer mechanic Alan Simister (far left) RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie and members of the Fishbourne RNLI crew.
For more information, please contact Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Officer for London and the South East on 07785 296252 . Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected].
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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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