Volunteer lifeboat crewman retires after 30 years

Keith Murphy, a volunteer aboard Eastbourne lifeboats, has retired after 30 years.

Keith Murphy, a volunteer aboard Eastbourne lifeboats, has retired after 30 years.

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Keith Murphy, a volunteer crewman aboard Eastbourne lifeboats, has announced his retirement from active duty after 30 years of loyal service.

Keith, or ‘Spud’ as he is affectionately known, intends to remain part of the crew for the foreseeable future but as a shore helper – the same role he adopted when he first joined the service in 1984.

As a shore helper in the ’80s, Mr Murphy assisted with the complicated process of launching and recovering the all-weather lifeboat, which was then called ‘Duke of Kent’, from the beach at Fisherman’s Green.

Later, he switched roles to become a crewman, eventually working aboard every inshore and all-weather lifeboats associated with Eastbourne RNLI, up to and including the current, state-of-the-art ‘Tamar’ class all-weather lifeboat ‘Diamond Jubilee’.

During his long service, Keith has been involved in many high-profile rescues, including the medal-winning service to the yacht ‘Paperchase’, which foundered on rocks at the entrance to Sovereign Harbour during a severe storm on the night of October 20, 2002.

For his part in the rescue, Keith received a Medal Service Certificate from the RNLI.

Keith made the decision to retire after work and family commitments made it impossible for him to respond to his pager 24/7.

To mark his retirement at his last Sunday exercise launch, Keith took the helm of ‘Diamond Jubilee’ to Beachy Head – promoted from his usual, customary role in front of the radar screen.

The volunteer crew of Eastbourne’s inshore lifeboat then came alongside and Keith transferred for an exhilarating wave bouncing trip before returning to the ALB.