A pair of Hastings volunteers who have collectively dedicated six decades of their time to helping save lives at sea have been recognised this week for their commitment.
Crew members Graham Furness and Martin Phillips were presented with long service awards by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at their Annual Summer BBQ last weekend.
Graham, 62, was awarded a 40 year long service badge,a first in the history of the town’s lifeboat community. Meanwhile Martin, 40, who is also employed by the charity as a staff coxswain, was awarded for 20 years’ service as a volunteer lifeboat crew member .
Graham first joined the crew at Hastings in 1973, whilst living and working in the area as a highway manager. He mainly volunteered as a crew member on the D-class inshore lifeboat for 23 years but on reaching the statutory retirement age for that lifeboat, he became a crew member on the all weather lifeboat, the Mersey class Sealink Endeavour, and remains crew to this day.
Martin first volunteered for the RNLI at Rye Harbour lifeboat station in 1993, the town where he grew up. After moving to Hastings in 1998 he joined the Hastings lifeboat crew where he still volunteers today as deputy second coxswain. During that time Martin has also gained employment with the RNLI, holding three different roles: coxswain, divisional assessor trainer, and now staff coxswain.
The awards were presented by RNLI Divisional Operations Manager Allen Head.