Event Marks Retirement Of Lifeboat Coxwain

St Mary's Lifeboat

Around 60 people connected with the St Mary’s lifeboat marked the retirement of Andy Howells as Coxswain at an event at the Mermaid Inn on Saturday night.

Andy has spent 26 years on the lifeboat and the past 11 years in the leading role on board.  He’ll be retiring as part of the everyday crew but will stay on as training coordinator, putting together the schedules for crew members who need to undertake skills development.

Andy was presented with a luxury watch by lifeboat launch authority, Chris Thomas.

Press Officer Steve Watt says it was nice to see a good turnout from former crew members including John Nicholls and retired Cox, Rodney Terry.

Stuart Hitchens will take over as the new Cox and says he is slightly apprehensive as he has a big boots to fill following Andy, Barry and Rodney.

But he admits the training is good and he has plenty of experience having joined the service just after Andy and having served around a quarter of the century on board the Saint Mary’s boat.

Stuart is modest about his appointment and says that when Andy dropped the bomb hell that he was leaving there wasn’t a rush of people to come forward and take up the role, so he has done it.

Andy has given him some words of advice – just listen to everyone and Stuart says the Lifeboat college suggested a similar approach as part of the training saying, “It’s best to take advice from as many people as possible because everybody on board the boat will see the situation and how to deal with it from a different angle.”