Lifeboat stalwart laid to rest in sea ceremony

Alan Pitcher is pictured.
Alan Pitcher is pictured.

A LIFEBOAT stalwart who died earlier this year has had his ashes scattered at sea.

Alan Pitcher died, aged 82, in April this year, and earlier this month the crew of Eastbourne’s new Diamond Jubilee lifeboat took his family out to sea so his ashes could be scattered off the coast of the town, close to the old Lifeboat Station at Fisherman’s Green.

Alan was born in Eastbourne in 1930, the youngest of four boys, and by the age of 15 he was working on the town’s fishing boats.

He went on to work on the Eastbourne pleasure boats, the William Allchorn and the Southern Queen, and having nowhere else to stay, Alan would sleep on the boats, curled up in the cuddy, the storage cupboard for the ropes.

He became a very young bandmaster for the Sea Cadets upon the retirement of Trevor Powney, who had talked him into joining the cadets.

The band went on to win the southern area championships and played at Wembley Stadium.

Alan rose in the sea cadets from second lieutenant to become Lt. Commander, moving from TS Eastbourne to the Wimbledon, Merton and Morden branch when the family moved to London.

Alan had also became a member of the Eastbourne lifeboat crew, becoming first mechanic on the Beryl Tolemache – the only paid member of the crew at that time.

He used to polish all the brass bits of the boat every day until they shone.

Alan left the lifeboat service at Eastbourne to work in London from 1970.

Alan and his wife, Jeanne, moved to Norfolk and, during his retirement, he developed his love of painting with watercolours specialising in miniatures, seascapes and pictures showing skies and scenery.

Two of his paintings have since been donated to Eastbourne Lifeboat.

When Alan became ill and passed away a short time later in April, Jeanne moved to Bexhill to be close to her family.

She, along with grandchildren, family and friends held a service just off the shore, while his ashes were scattered by his children, Juley and James.

Juley said, “After a long lifetime working on boats on Eastbourne beaches, Alan is now once again among friends and former lifeboatmen.”