St Mary’s Lifeboatman Retires After 10 Years Of Service

lifeboat 2013_3A St Mary’s lifeboatman says he’ll miss the teamwork and banter on the boat now he’s retired from the volunteer crew.

Ralph Handy joined in 2003 when he moved to St Mary’s from Tresco.

A keen fisherman, he says at the back of his mind he always had the reassurance that if he got into trouble, someone would come and help him. He volunteered because he felt he wanted to give something back.

Ralph says his most memorable mission wasn’t a rough sea rescue. The lifeboat was called out to help tow a large French trawler about 70 miles off Scilly. But as it was being escorted in, it sank.

Ralph says it was the “weirdest experience” seeing the vessel disappear under the water so quickly.

Volunteers usually retire at 55 but he stayed on for an extra year while some younger crew were trained.

He says it’s now time to move over, but encourages any new volunteers to give it a go and says they’ll get a huge amount of satisfaction from it.