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Littlehampton RNLI crew member steps down after 20 years

Lifeboats News Release

Littlehampton RNLI crew member, Olly Clarke, has stepped down after an incredible 20 years saving lives at sea.

Olly Clarke (right) receives his long-service medal from Mike McCartain (left) and Nick White (centre)

RNLI/Beth Brooks

Olly Clarke (right) receives his long-service medal from Mike McCartain (left) and Nick White (centre)

Olly, who lives in Angmering, started volunteering for Littlehampton RNLI when he was just 17 years old. Now, 20 years later, Olly is stepping down to spend more time with his family.

A hugely popular and fun personality at the lifeboat station, Olly joined up as trainee crew after being inspired by his great uncle, George Barnes. George was crew on Littlehampton RNLI’s original Blue Peter I lifeboat when it arrived at the lifeboat station in 1967, and he also built lifeboats at Littlehampton boatbuilder, William Osbourne. In addition, Olly was crew alongside his brother, Liam Clarke, who volunteered with Littlehampton RNLI for 18 years.

Olly said: ‘When I first joined Littlehampton RNLI, my mum had to come down and sign the forms as I wasn’t deemed old enough to sign myself until I was 18 years old! My first shout was to rescue a dog from the River Arun. Peter Knight, who was senior helm, stood down a crew member to take me as a trainee.’

Since then, Olly has been involved in countless shouts – selflessly dropping everything to save lives at sea. During his time as crew, he has been airlifted from the lifeboat onto HM Coastguard’s former helicopter India Juliet during a training demonstration, walked 26 miles across London in full RNLI crew kit to raise vital funds for the charity, and has arranged many social events for the lifeboat station.

Olly added: ‘I have loved every minute. Littlehampton RNLI is made up of some incredible men and women from so many different backgrounds. Everyone is here to represent the RNLI. However, they do this while loving what they do, and having a laugh along the way. For anyone considering volunteering at Littlehampton RNLI, I would say, do it! I came in at 17 with no boat experience, and I learnt so much.’

Olly, who is Head of Stage and Automation at Sadler’s Wells, in London, was recently presented his 20-year service medal by Littlehampton RNLI Chair, Mike McCartain, and Lifeboat Operations Manager, Nick White.

Nick said: ‘Olly has been a great asset to the station over the years, focused on the job and fun as well. His recognition for 20 years as lifeboat crew is much deserved. RNLI operational roles demand a lot of our time, and it’s sad but right that he has the time that he needs to spend with his wife and daughter. We’ll miss him.’


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 and receives no government funding. To find out more about Littlehampton RNLI, see

RNLI media contacts

Beth Brooks, Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer, Littlehampton RNLI
07544 209256 [email protected]

Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer, London and South East
07785 296252 [email protected]

Olly Clarke at 17 (left) with Littlehampton RNLI crew


Olly Clarke at 17 (left) with Littlehampton RNLI crew

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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