TWO Shoreham lifeboat crew members have managed to clock up 50 years service for the RNLI.
Simon Tugwell, 47, and Keith Stevens have been awarded their long service badges after volunteering years of service to the charity.
Simon, who was given his 30-year service badge, joined the Shoreham lifeboat crew at the age of 17, following in the footsteps of his father, Geoff, who was involved with the lifeboat for 42 years.
Simon started as a trainee on the inshore lifeboat and worked his way up to senior helmsman, as well as becoming a crewman on the all-weather lifeboat.
In 2000, he became second mechanic before passing out as second coxswain in 2012.
Simon started serving on the Rother-class lifeboat, The Davys Family, while his dad was emergency mechanic on the boat.
He said: “The lifeboat is a huge part of my life and I can’t believe I have been involved for 30 years.
“I have seen some big changes in that time.
“When I first started going to sea, the lifeboat did eight knots now our Tamar-class all weather lifeboat does 25 knots, so our response times are much quicker.
“Some of the services I have been involved in which stand out, are the rescue of the stricken yacht Trimley Maid in gale force nine winds off the coast in 1999 and the floods in Lewes and Uckfield of 2000.
“I would encourage any young person interested in the RNLI to come and look around the station.”
Keith Stevens was awarded his 20 year service badge.
He first joined the Selsey lifeboat crew and made his way up to second mechanic at the station and served there for 10 years.
When he moved to Shoreham he became a relief mechanic for the RNLI, a position which required him to cover 15 different lifeboat stations in the region from Newhaven to Calshot and the Isle of Wight.
Keith said: “The funniest moments are people not having the faintest clue where they are. Giving a position at sea that when plotted, fixes them as being on Chichester Station platform.
“And the scariest moments are running out of chocolate during a long service of 13 hours. No in truth it’s realising there’s no-one else out there in that weather to help.”
The pair were presented with their service awards at the station’s annual Christmas dinner at the Sussex Yacht Club by Shoreham Lifeboat chairman, Dr Tim Stevenson.