Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Lifeboat man’s 54-year service
3:00pm Monday 1st October 2012 in Southend
A LIFEBOAT manager has been given an award for a staggering 54 years voluntary service.
Colin Sedgwick joined the Royal National Lifeboat Institute on his 16th birthday in 1958 and was awarded the Royal Humane Society certificate in his first year for being part of a crew that saved a life at sea when a speedboat sank.
His love of the sea began when he joined Chalkwell Bay Sea Scouts at the age of 11, and later ran the group for eight years.
He left only to concentrate on his career with the RNLI.
Mr Sedgwick was a fisherman on the crew of the Watson-class lifeboat “Greater London II” and became helmsman of the inshore lifeboats at Southend in 1965. When the Watson lifeboat was withdrawn and the Atlantic 21 lifeboat was brought in. Mr Sedgwick was made helmsman of that too. In 1998 he coordinated the major rescue attempt of two men who died after plunging into icy waters from their blazing boat.
Those joining the RNLI are trained in all aspects of lifesaving and rescues at sea. They start off helping on the shore, by launching and recovering boats, as well as working in the boathouse, before becoming full crew members. First aid training is essential. He is now in charge of a 40 volunteer crew on the Atlantic 75 lifeboat, two D-class lifeboats and the inshore hovercraft.
Mr Sedgwick, who is married with four sons, will retire from his position at the age of 70 in November. But he is determined to still be a part of the RNLI.
He said: “I’ll be retired. but I will be involved in some way.”
RNLI chief executive officer Paul Boissier presented him with a gold bar award for his long service to the Institution. Handing the award to Colin, Paul said: “I believe this is the first RNLI award I have presented to someone for 54 years’ service.”
John Foster, a former senior helmsman, with 29 years service will take over as manager.
Mr Sedgwick’s son Timothy, will continue the family tradition as a member of Southend’s lifeboat crew.