Tributes after long-serving lifeboatman dies aged 80

Simon Bristow

TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-serving former Bridlington lifeboatman who has died aged 80.

Harry Wood, who won a series of bravery awards in a near 50-year career at Bridlington Lifeboat Station, died at his home in Norfolk last Friday.

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Mr Wood joined the crew in the early 1950s and built a hard-earned reputation as a dependable seaman who was devoted to his work.

The Bridlington-born former head launcher, who retired in 1999, is fondly remembered by his former colleagues and friends in the town.

Deputy Launching Authority Andy Brompton, who served with Mr Wood for 25 years, said: “He was a real character. He did a lot of work on the boat and ashore he was the life and soul of the party.

“He did a lot of work for the RNLI.

“He started in the early 1950s and in those days it was the old open-topped boat.

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“He served right up to the new boat (the Mersey class The Marine Engineer).

“For the old crew who were with him it’s a very sad loss. He was the sort of fella who if you mentioned his name it brought a smile to your face.”

Mr Wood, who was also a keen yachtsman and a retained firefighter, served under three coxswains and was involved in many notable rescues.

In 1967, after rescuing two boys who had fallen down the cliffs at Flamborough, he was awarded the RNLI’s Vellum certificate – the first ever to be awarded for an inshore boat rescue.

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Almost a year later he was one of the crew when Coxswain John King was awarded the bronze medal after the offshore lifeboat stood by the fishing vessel Maria F in a south easterly gale.

In 1980, Coxswain Fred Walkington MBE was awarded a Vellum for his part in the rescue of three fisherman after their coble The Three Fevers sank. Mr Wood was again rewarded as one of the crew.

Five years later Mr Wood and his son Nick received bravery awards as crew members for the rescue of two adults and two children from the yacht Sula Sula.

He is survived by his wife Pat, son Nick and daughter Sally.

A station spokesman said: “At this time our thoughts are very much with Pat , Nick and Sally.

“Harry was a great character and his contribution to Bridlington Lifeboat will not be forgotten.”