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Port Isaac RNLI volunteers receive long service medals

Lifeboats News Release

Trevor Beare, Andy Cameron, John Collins and Richard Hambly are celebrating a combined 150 years of service with Port Isaac RNLI Lifeboat Station.

RNLI/Faye Archell

L-R Trevor Beare, Andy Cameron, John Collins, Richard Hambly

Trevor joined as a volunteer crew member in 1972. During this time a new type of lifeboat was being rolled out by the RNLI – a fast rescue craft with fewer crew, which could respond speedily to incidents when a few minutes could make a crucial difference. The boat was a rescue inflatable measuring 15ft and is what we now know as the Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) which has become the workhorse of the RNLI’s fleet. Trevor served on Port Isaac’s first inshore lifeboat D-139. He recalls that Port Isaac RNLI were the first station with an ILB to train with the RAF Search and Rescue helicopter. They used to take the lifeboat up to Clovelly to join the 70-foot Clyde-class lifeboat and train with the Western Whirlwind Search and Rescue (SAR) based at RAF St Mawgan. Trevor went on to train with the Wessex SAR and then the Sea King. He retired from crew in the late 80s to become the stations training officer and then onto shore crew after that.

Richard Hambly joined in 1985 at the age of 19 and progressed to become a helmsman a couple of years later. In more recent times, Richard has become one of the station’s Launching Authorities. In 2004, as the longest serving helm on the crew, Richard represented Port Isaac at the opening of the RNLI Training Centre at Poole by HM The Queen, one of his proudest RNLI moments. In 2019, Richard was part of the local RNLI team that ran the Virgin London Marathon, raising over £10,000 towards the appeal to fund the station’s new D class lifeboat. Richard’s son Harry has followed the family tradition, and now serves on the lifeboat crew.

A year later, 16-year-old John Collins was asked to join the crew by the late Honourable Secretary, David Castle. John was working in the fish cellars of Port Isaac and it was felt he’d be a great addition to the crew. The lifeboat was seasonal service only back then so he completed his training over the winter months, then served as crew when the lifeboat was operational the next summer. John went on to serve as volunteer crew for 19 years before moving over to the role as Launching Authority and still serves as shore crew today.

Andy Cameron joined the Port Isaac lifeboat a month after he moved in to the village, at the age of 25. He’d always been on or in the water and it was an ambition to be part of a crew. Three years after qualifying as crew he passed out as a helmsman. He has lots of memorable moments on the crew from the Boscastle flood to a shout on New Year’s Eve in 2011. By the time the crew had rescued the casualty from Tintagel Head and returned to the village in bitterly cold weather, they had forgotten it was New Year’s Eve and when they walked into the pub the party was in full swing, everyone thought they were in fancy dress!! (Then they realised and bought them a pint!) Andy was also the last RNLI crew member to be lifted in to a Sea King Search and Rescue helicopter before they were decommissioned. He didn’t realise this until he was in the helicopter where the crew were quite emotional. Andy says it took him a while to understand what was happening, it was a great memory.

Port Isaac Lifeboat Operations Manager, Kevin Dingle said ‘I am fortunate to have served with Trevor, Richard, John and Andy. We are lucky to have so many crew at Port Isaac who have committed to volunteer for such long periods of time and we are all very grateful for their dedication'.

RNLI/Faye Archell

Richard Hambly (right) and John Collins (centre) meeting HRH The Duke of Kent on his visit to the station in 1990.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.