In memory of Reverend Cecil Clark

In memory of Reverend Cecil Clark – a man whose character and life were shaped by his belief in Jesus Christ.

RNLI logo on a sunset at the beach

Photo: RNLI

Cecil will be remembered by many as Staff Officer Operations (Communications) from 1990-2004, responsible for the provision of lifeboat radio communications and electronic navigation systems on lifeboats in the UK and Ireland.

He was subsequently known to later generations of RNLI volunteers and staff as the volunteer chaplain for our Poole campus.

It was being made redundant from BT International in 1990, where Cecil was head of the UK short-to-medium range shore radio services, that led to decades of involvement with the RNLI, albeit with an unconventional start.

The story goes that, within a week of the notice of his redundancy, Cecil became aware of RNLI recruitment for a role that seemed to be the perfect fit for someone with his experience and knowledge of electronic communications. He just so happened to be coming down to the RNLI offices for meetings and, on arrival at Poole, was given a cup of tea then told he had a job interview in 10 minutes! In a delightfully back-to-front approach, after a successful interview Cecil was then asked to fill in a job application form. Cecil relocated from Essex to Poole, followed a year later by his wife Beryl.

Cecil was admired by his colleagues for his openness in talking about his beliefs and for sharing how his own life was directed by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and not by luck or random circumstance. Cecil’s calling to become a vicar actually came whilst he was working full-time for the RNLI. He pursued his training in his free time and became ordained into the Church of England in 1998, eventually becoming an associate minister in the nearby Canford Magna Parish.

Since retiring 18 years ago, Cecil continued his support for the RNLI by acting as Chaplain for naming ceremonies and remembrance services in Poole. He thoroughly enjoyed being Chaplain and the opportunity to remain associated with the RNLI after retiring was very special to him.

Cecil’s legacy is one rooted in lifesaving. He was instrumental in implementing the basis for the paging system we have today, unifying several different systems into a single method for alerting crews, as well as working on critical safety systems for fishermen. All the while talking freely about faith and hope.

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