In memory of Willie Wright

It is with much sadness that we announce that former RNLI crew member Willie Wright has passed away at the age of 83.

Former RNLI crew member Willie Wright sitting on a boatThe village of Staithes, North Yorkshire has been in mourning this week for one of their best-known and best-loved characters. His body was found on the rocks in Staithes harbour on Monday evening after he had been reported missing from home earlier in the day.

Willie was a prominent figure in Staithes as he had a hand in many areas of village life, including as an RNLI crew member, choir singer, fisherman, local historian and village caretaker.

He volunteered with Staithes and Runswick RNLI for 17 years, earning a long service award for his dedication on the crew. Willie was even at sea aboard the lifeboat Royal George when he received the message that his wife Lucy had given birth to their daughter Elizabeth.

Sean Baxter, Deputy Launch Authority at Staithes and Runswick RNLI, said: 

‘Everyone looked up to Willie. He was a shining light to every generation at the station, the epitome of a lifeboatman.’

Willie’s daughter Elizabeth has followed in her father’s footsteps and is currently a crew member with Staithes RNLI, she added:

‘He was my hero. Everyone loved him.’

Among the tributes paid to Willie, Bill Blackwell who is Chairman of the Staithes Harbour Commissioners said: 

‘He was unique, a fount of local knowledge, he loved boats and lifeboats, always available to help. He was one of the last residents born and bred in the old village. It’s like the end of an era.’