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70 years of saving lives recognised

Sunderland rnli Martin Andrew, James Jamieson Mike Cowe, Paul Nicholson 70 years of service

7:08am 29th January 2018

Three volunteers from Sunderland's RNLI were formally recognised over the weekend.

It was for giving over 70 years of voluntary service to the charity that saves lives at sea.
Martin Andrew, Paul Nicholson, and Mike Cowe were honoured with an evening at the Avenue in Roker.

The trio have been described as great examples, given up their own free time to respond and assist those who get into difficulties in, on or near to the water.

The Avenue off Roker Avenue at night

Lifeboat Operations Manager James Jamieson said:

"Sunderland RNLI is very fortunate to have such dedicated and loyal volunteers who between them have given a combined total of almost 70 years' service to the lifeboat station."

"The RNLI's best asset are the volunteers and Mike, Paul and Martin are great examples of the commitment and selflessness required to be a member of a lifeboat crew and over a period of many years they have given up their own free time to be available to respond and assist those who get into difficulties in, on or near to the water".

Martin Andrew said:

"Receiving my award was not only recognition of my 20 years service but 20 years of being involved with a great team at Sunderland lifeboat station who's friendship and dedication have made it a privilege to be involved over that period."

Mike Cowe first joined the charity in 1980 and through the years progressed to hold both Helmsman and Coxswain qualifications allowing him to take command of both the inshore and all weather lifeboats at sea.

Since 2007 he has held the position of deputy launching authority being responsible to approving lifeboat launches and assisting the Operations Manager with the running of the lifeboat station.

Twenty years ago Mike was recognised by the charity receiving a Chairman's Letter of Thanks for a lifeboat launch which led to a fisherman's life being saved.

On 20 December 1998, the inshore lifeboat launched into a north westerly Force 6 wind and heavy breaking surf to search for a fisherman who had been swept into the sea at Hendon Tanks.

With the assistance of the all-weather boat and a police helicopter, the man was located in a particularly difficult position less than half a cable from the curving sea wall, which resulted in the 16 feet north easterly swell being reflected back on to the lifeboat.

It took the combined efforts of all three lifeboat men to get the man into the boat and the successful outcome of this service was the result of exemplary teamwork, determination and seamanship.

RNLI 20 years sevices award

Lifeboat Helmsman Paul Nicholson said:

"Being involved in some memorable rescues over the years has made the job of saving lives at sea extremely worthwhile. For me and Martin to receive our long service award alongside Mike is particularly special as it through Mike that we both first became involved with the charity."

"Throughout our lifeboat career he continued to be a friend and mentor who we looked to for advice and guidance as we developed and progressed through the ranks at the station."

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