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Hartlepool RNLI's Lifeboat Operations Manager sets sail for pastures new

Lifeboats News Release

Hartlepool RNLI Lifeboat Operations manager Mike Craddy has retired from the post he has held at the Ferry Road lifeboat station for the past 20 years. The former Tees Sailing Club Commodore is standing down from the post to enjoy his retirement with his boat on the Norfolk Broads.

RNLI/Tom Collins

Mike Craddy(left) with the new Lifeboats Operations Manager Chris Hornsey at the Ferry Road lifeboat station.

The Hartlepool 66-year-old said: ‘It’s been a pleasure working with such a dedicated bunch of volunteers.

‘Watching the boats going to sea on shouts and seeing them returning safely with casualties has been extremely rewarding over the years. It’s a great feeling knowing that you have played a small part in saving a person’s life or simply being able to send a lifeboat out to tow a casualty back.

‘I will miss the volunteer crew and the characters amongst them terribly. They have all become great friends over the years and I cannot fault their commitment.'

When asked about some of the highlights of his time at the lifeboat station Mike recalls: ‘Winning the ‘Pride of Britain’ award a few years ago was obviously special but every time the pager went off was always special as you knew we were needed to help someone in trouble.

‘I will keep in touch with everyone but it will be very strange not to to be wearing a pager 24/7 or receive phone calls from the Coastguards but I’m leaving the station and volunteers in the safe hands of Chris Hornsey and I wish him and the crew all the best for the future’.'

Hartlepool RNLI Coxswain Robbie Maiden who recently received his 30 year RNLI service award said: ‘Mike has been a tremendous manager at the station over the years.

‘He was always the last to leave the station after a shout having made sure everyone was okay and the boats made ready for the next service but most of all his friendship and leadership have been outstanding over the years but he will always be made welcome here whenever he calls in to see us.'

Mike hands over the role of Lifeboat Operations Manager to Deputy Launch Authority at the station Chris Hornsey who said: ‘Mike is a hard act to follow, he has and always will have a lot of respect from myself and the volunteers here and I would like to wish him a peaceful retirement.'

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland