RNLI Say Fair Winds to Helm Bruce du Preez
After a short illness the RNLI family in Portishead are saddened to share the news of the passing of 53 year old RNLI volunteer Helm, Bruce du Preez.
Bruce joined the lifesaving charity in 2003 when it was operating as The Portishead Lifeboat Trust and based at Sugar Loaf Beach. He immersed himself in to the charity and bought many valuable skills with him to support the volunteers.
Bruce was awarded his RNLI 20 year medal for his voluntary service just before he passed and during that time he wore many hats. Not only did he take full responsibility whilst at sea as Helm when launching the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat, My Lady Anne, he also drove the launch vehicle, was lifeboat mechanic and was also a part of the operations and training teams.
Bruce was always on hand to help support the new volunteers and pass on his knowledge, he was also keen to have a laugh and share some banter. RNLI crew member Emma said, ‘I tie knots the way I do because of Bruce, his was the only methods I could understand.’
As the RNLI looked to adopt the Portishead Lifeboat Trust in 2014, Bruce was there to support the process and helped to host the RNLI management team who came along on numerous occasions during the progression of the adoption.
Tom Mansell, RNLI Regional Lifesaving Lead said, 'I was tremendously sad to hear that Bruce has died following his brave struggle against cancer.
Bruce was the first crew member I ever met. He looked after the boat and equipment in the old station and he was our regular point of contact during the transfer to RNLI. I remember him as a bubbly, can do person, full of ideas, always happy to help and completely dedicated to what the station was doing to save lives. A really great volunteer and a really great guy.’
Bruce always spoke with deep love of his family and home in South Africa and visited as often as he could with both Sadie and Michael.
We have a large Bruce shaped hole at RNLI Portishead, he will be deeply missed by not only us but his beloved family and all who knew him. Fairwell our friend, fair winds to the other side….
Notes to editors – All images ©RNLIPortishead & RNLINathanWilliams
· Bruce du Preez ©RNLINathanWilliams
· Bruce teaching new Helm Susan on how to recover the lifeboat on to the launch rig. Left to right Bruce, Susan, Lu and Simon.
· Bruce teaching new crew volunteers how to tie knots with Dave. Left to right, Cameron, Dave, Matt and Bruce
· Crew briefing before launch during the Covid pandemic, with crew mates left to right Marc, Susan, Andy and Bruce
· Bruce driving the rig getting ready to launch My Lady Anne for training
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Helen Lazenby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07800 595995, [email protected], or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
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