Two lifeboat crew members clock up fifty years of service

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Two crew members from Whitby lifeboat have clocked up 50 years service between them- despite both being unsure about whether they even wanted to join.

Nick Botham was awarded a pin badge for his 30 years with the crew and Geoff Hodgson for 20 years of service.

They are both volunteer members of the crew and over the years have helped to save lives while also holding down full-time jobs and a family life.

Nick, who works in the Bothams family business, was talked into joining while having a pint, in what used to be the Big Angel pub, by his mate and the current crew mechanic, Glen Goodberry.

He told the Gazette: “When you first start you are mainly on the inshore boat. I was into surfing and enjoyed being in the waves. You get more involved in the serious side and start on the off shore boat and it goes from there really.”

He said it doesn’t feel like 30 years and in some ways it is easier now as his family has grown up because of the committment involved and the possibility of being called out at any time of day or night.

He added: “I don’t know where the time went. It doesn’t seem like 30 years ago. It is incredible how things change. Pete Thomson was there at the time and before you know it - he has been retired 20 years.

“The most difficult time is when you have got a young family but you never lose the adrenalin rush of going out and wondering what’s going to occur.

“The vast majority of jobs are straight forward, run of the mill and not dangerous but the next one might be , and you have to know that everybody is going to be capable when it is that bad shout.”

Geoff echoed his sentiments and said being part of the lifeboat crew was like being part of an extended family.

However, he didn’t think he would end up joining the crew full time 20 years ago and reckoned he would just try it the once.

He said: “I used to watch them running past my house when I was a kid when they had a shout and I just could not see me doing it.

“I never thought I would take to it and couldn’t see myself going out in the bad weather.”

But the then coxswain Pete Thomson persuaded Geoff to try it once and the rest is history, so they say.

In that time he has seen the building of a new boat house and the 190th anniversary of the RNLI.

His apprehensions about the weather still feature though.

When Geoff is asked about the worst jobs he has been on and he admits he is embarrassed about being recognised as part of the crew.

Geoff said: “The worst ones are when you get a fishing boat broken down 40 miles off. “There is a two hour sail to get there and if it is quite rough it can be six hours back just to tow a boat in.

“But the appreciation you get from the public can be embarrassing.

“We had one in Robin Hood’s Bay where people were cut off and they were applauding us as we came in. But it is great to know you have saved somebody’s life.

“The time has flown by and I am very proud to have been involved in the lifeboat over the last 20 years.”