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Macduff RNLI stalwarts honoured for long service

By Kyle Ritchie

Macduff RNLI, Macduff Lifeboat Station, William West, John Ingram, Derek Mair, Colin Wood, David Park, Andrew Findlay
Macduff RNLI, Macduff Lifeboat Station, William West, John Ingram, Derek Mair, Colin Wood, David Park, Andrew Findlay

MORE than 160 years of collective service by six members of the Macduff RNLI has been recognised by the lifesaving charity.

At a dinner held at the Banff Springs Hotel, three retired crew members, William "John" West, John Ingram and Derek Mair, and three active crew members, Colin Wood, David Park and Andrew "Chassey" Findlay, received awards.

First to be recognised for his 33 years of service to Macduff Lifeboat Station was Mr Ingram, who retired from his role as deputy launching authority (DLA) at the end of 2018.

Mr Ingram joined Macduff Lifeboat in 1985 as a member of the shore crew which he served until 2006 when he stood down and took on the role of DLA.

The second honour went to Mr West, who retired after 32 years of service. He was the harbour master at Macduff and ideally placed to be a DLA for the lifeboat. He joined in 1986 and was DLA until 1990 when he became the honorary secretary for Macduff RNLI, a position he held until 2000 after which he returned to being one of the station's DLAs.

The first of the long service medals was presented to Mr Mair, who has decided to stand down after 20 years' service.

He joined the shore crew at Macduff in 1998. During his service he was one of the launch and recovery vehicle drivers and plant operators and from 2014, he was the launch and recovery plant mechanic at the station.

Roy Morrison, lifeboat operations manager at Macduff RNLI, said: "Collectively, these three guys have dedicated 85 years' service to the RNLI, for that we are truly grateful and appreciate all that they have done during their time at Macduff.

"We wish them all the best in their retirement and look forward to seeing them from time to time at the station."

Mr Wood was the next recipient of a long service medal. He joined the lifeboat in 1997 and has been shore crew and boat crew during this time. He was presented with a 20-year long service medal by Coxswain Chassey Findlay, who said: "Colin is a safe pair of hands both onshore and on the boat. You know you can rely on Colin whatever the circumstances."

The final long service medal was presented to Mr Findlay for 30 years with the RNLI. He joined the boat crew at Macduff in 1987 and during his 32 years with the RNLI, has been a constant member of the team. In 1990 he became the helmsman, a role he still holds along with being the station's inshore lifeboat maintenance mechanic which he took on in 1994. He also became a RNLI training assessor in 2003.

Mr Park was unable to attend the dinner but was presented with his 20-year long service medal at the station a few days later by area lifesaving manager Henry Weaver.

He joined the boat crew in 1995 and quickly reached the level of helmsman, which he maintained until 2015 when he stood down and joined the shore crew.

Mr Morrison said: "Colin Wood, David Park and Andrew Findlay all joined the lifeboat service as young lads and between them they have served the RNLI for almost 80 years.

"Their commitment and continued dedication to the service is commendable. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things and without them the RNLI wouldn't be the service that it is today."

Mr Findlay said: "With more than 160 years of volunteering service between us, it is testament not only to the character of the volunteers but also the RNLI, as the charity that saves lives at sea, that they make sure that we are supported, equipped and trained so when the worst happens we are ready and able to help.

"We cannot go without mentioning all the other volunteers at Macduff who give their time selflessly every week for training and drop everything when the pagers go off.

"The younger crew members are training and learning all the time and I am confident that Macduff lifeboat will be in safe hands for many years to come."

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