12/07 to 14/07 2013
Coast to Coast Kayak Challenge    

A team comprising of crew from Newhaven Lifeboat station and friends are going to embark on a huge challenge this July to kayak across Scotland from Fort William (North Atlantic) to Inverness (North Sea). The challenge will be along the full length of the Caledonian Canal taking in Loch Ness which is 23 miles long and up to 1.5 miles wide. The overall distance of 60 miles is expected take three full days.

Newhaven Lifeboat Press Officer Alan Novis explained “we are carrying out this challenge to raise money for the RNLI which is a worthy cause and also as a tribute to our close friend Gavin Butcher, a volunteer crew member on Newhaven lifeboat who sadly lost his battle with cancer in late February this year aged just 49.”

“Any small donation will help contribute towards saving lives at sea on lifeboats or on the beaches where our lifeguards operate. Our target is to raise over 5,000. All of our costs are being met by us personally so every penny will go to the RNLI.“

“We can be sponsored either as individuals or as a team at Just Giving http://www.justgiving.com/teams/caledonian

There is also some limited Corporate Sponsorship opportunities which includes branding on the kayaks and support vans. For more information please call Alan Novis on 07916 272861.


Members of the team off Seaford Head
Scattering of Gavin Butcher's ashes    

A special service was held just off Seaford beach in front of a large crowd for Gav's ashes to be scattered. Newhaven lifeboat was flanked by Eastbourne and Brighton lifeboats throughout the service and at the end Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 104 hovered overhead.

Gav's wife Lucy said "I would like to say a huge thank you to the Newhaven crew and the RNLI HQ who have been amazing at this most difficult time. Gav would have loved the moving ceremony today with Eastbourne and Brighton lifeboats plus the Coastguard helicopter."

Coxswain Paul Legendre explained "It was such an honour to arrange today in the memory of Gavin. We would like to thank our friends from the Eastbourne and Brighton RNLI crews, Newhaven and Birling Gap Coastguard teams and the Coastguard rescue helicopter for making it such a special day."

Photo by Bob Jeffery Photo by Barry Johnson Photo by Barry Johnson Photo by Viv Blakey
Celebration of Gavin Butcher's life

A service led by Reverend Louis Wilson was held at Woodvale Crematorium to celebrate the life of Gav.

The funeral cortege was led by a motorbike and sidecar hearse containing the coffin draped in an RNLI flag with Gav's cap on top. Vehicles containing crew members and partners joined the cortege outside the boathouse for the procession to the crematorium. Gav would surely have appreciated when an unmarked police car ablaze with blue flashing lights stopped the traffic on the town's one-way system to allow the cortege to proceed together.

The service was attended by an estimated 300 people including family, friends and work colleagues as well as representatives of flank lifeboat stations, HM Coastguard and the RNLI both serving and retired. The Newhaven lifeboat crew provided a guard of honour outside the chapel and three crew were pall bearers. The large number of mourners could not be accommodated in the chapel so many stood outside and listened to the service over loudspeakers.

The service included music chosen by Gav and poignant tributes from family, friends and Second Coxswain Lee and Navigator Alan.

Gav's ashes will be scattered from the lifeboat near to the shoreline opposite the Buckle car park in Seaford Bay on Sunday 07 April 2013 at 11:00. All are welcome.

The motorbike hearse that led the cortege

Flower cushion of RNLI flag

Gavin Butcher lost his battle against cancer

It is with great sadness that we report that Gav passed away peacefully. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in May 2012 while he was still serving on the crew. Our sincere condolences go to his wife, Lucy and his three young children, who are all in our thoughts at this most difficult time.

Gav joined the crew in 2006 and was appointed as Assistant Mechanic in 2008. He was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 in recognition of his service. He will be greatly missed by all at Newhaven Lifeboat Station.

Gavin Butcher
Retired Coxswain Ian Johns awarded MBE in New Year's Honours list.

Ian Johns, who retired from the Newhaven Lifeboat in March after 37 years service, the last 9 of them as Retained Coxswain, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list announced today.

When given the news Ian said "I am very humbled by this award, which has come as a real surprise, but am delighted to accept this as recognition of the whole team at Newhaven plus the wider RNLI".

Interviewed for television news Ian re-iterated that the award recognised the importance of teamwork and family commitment and commented "there is no 'I' in team".

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Coxswain Ian Johns retired after 37 years service.

Ian Johns has served on the Newhaven Lifeboat for 37 years, 9 of them as Coxswain saving lives off the Sussex coast. But Ian has now decided to hang up his lifejacket for good.

Ian joined the station as a volunteer in 1974 and then took over as Coxswain in 2002. In various posts he has served on four lifeboats, the Watson class Kathleen Mary (1974-1977), the Waveney class Louis Marchesi of Round Table (1977-1985), Arun class Keith Anderson (1985-1999) and the Severn class David and Elizabeth Acland (1999-2011)
Ian has been awarded both a Long Service Badge and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.
Pat Johns, who is Ian’s wife, has also retired from her role as Volunteer Press Officer with Newhaven RNLI after 31 years’ service.

Ian thought his last two training exercises would be routine, but unknown to him Brighton, Shoreham, Eastbourne and Newhaven RNLI stations had collaborated to send him into retirement with style. On Ian’s last Sunday exercise he helmed Shoreham’s new Tamar class lifeboat, their inshore D class lifeboat and then followed by taking the helm of Brighton’s Atlantic inshore lifeboat. On the final night exercise Ian was transferred via Eastbourne D class lifeboat to the all-weather Mersey class Lifeboat where he took the helm for a short trip.

To mark this special occasion the La Havre lifeboat travelled to Newhaven. A farewell party was arranged by the crew to celebrate Ian’s time on the boat and Pat’s work as Press Officer, to thank them both for their considerable contributions over many years. Ian was presented with a RNLI Vellum from ex lifeboat inspector Mike Woodruffe. In addition they were presented with a holiday to St Marys on the Isles of Scilly, a decanter and numerous other gifts.
Attendees included Coastguards from Solent, Birling Gap and Newhaven. There were representatives from Dover, Eastbourne, Brighton and Shoreham RNLI lifeboat stations plus many retired lifeboat & coastguard crew.
Ian looks back on a remarkable record of achievement at the Newhaven station. Between 23rd March 1974 and 23rd March 2011 he had been out on 630 services saving 337 lives.


Ian was presented with a service certificate by Mike Woodruffe who was our Lifeboat Inspector when Ian first joined the crew
Paul presented Ian with a decanter depicting the four classes of lifeboat he had served on
Pat was presented with bouquets of flowers
The open day aimed at attracting volunteers proved a big success.

Depleting numbers of volunteers at Newhaven forced us to make an appeal aimed at potential lifeboat crew members, fundraisers, sea safety advisors, education speakers and volunteers for our shop at the station.

The Coxswain and crew were supported by RNLI regional officials and all were overwhelmed by the amount of support offered. At the end of the day there were 18 possible applicants for lifeboat crew members, 3 people interested in becoming Sea Safety Advisors and 29 completed forms for various fundraising positions.

Coxswain Ian Johns said "the event created a wonderful atmosphere between the crew and the volunteers and we were impressed with the number of local residents that were willing to help. So much so that shortly the retail outlet at the station will be open 7 days a week between 10am and 4pm. All these sales of RNLI souvenirs contribute to the running costs of Newhaven lifeboat station."

If anyone was unable to attend the open day but wish to volunteer their services to help the RNLI they can contact the boathouse on 01273 514143.


Potential volunteers could talk to crew or RNLI regional staff to see how they could help
Poppy the springer spaniel, who recently survived a 300 foot fall from the cliffs at the Seven Sisters, returned to Newhaven Lifeboat with her owners and family to say thank you.

Kelly Ixer and Ben Markwick, with baby Henry, returned to the lifeboat station to say thank you to the lifeboat crew that responded to the emergency call made after their Springer spaniel “Poppy” chased a seagull over the cliffs recently. Along with Ben’s sister Lia and Stephen Winslade, who were walking Poppy that eventful day, they were at the lifeboat station after the crew returned from their usual Sunday morning training exercise.

Following the heartfelt thanks expressed from Poppy and her owners, Paul Legendre (Second Coxswain) presented Poppy with an embroidered blanket as a little memento of her new-found friendship with the lifeboat crew. Poppy was the lucky one, many dogs give chase to seagulls and rabbits while exercising along the cliff tops, and before their owners can recall them, they disappear over the cliffs – very rarely surviving. With this in mind, owners are advised to keep their dogs on leads along these perilous areas.

Read an account of the service to Poppy here

Alan and James made a fuss of Poppy
Second Coxswain Paul presented Poppy with an embroidered blanket
Poppy and her family with the crew