|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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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".
Coxswain Ian Johns retired after 37 years
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 Ians 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 Ians last Sunday exercise he
helmed Shorehams new Tamar class lifeboat, their inshore D class lifeboat and then
followed by taking the helm of Brightons 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 Ians time on the
boat and Pats 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.
The open day aimed at attracting volunteers
proved a big success.
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.
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 Bens 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
Read an account of the service to Poppy here