Thirty miles on foot in aid of town’s RNLI

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A former lifeboat crewman has made an impressive fundraising walk and raised hundreds of pounds for Eastbourne RNLI.

John Cooper has walked the entire 30 mile length of The RoyalMilitary Canal across

Romney Marsh with his faithful Jack Russell Roo.

John served with Eastbourne lifeboats from 1981 until 1996

and having decided to attempt the walk the pair set about obtaining sponsorship from friends and family and raised £450 which was presented to the current crew on Sunday morning (February 17).

In 1983 John was awarded the prestigious Thanks on Vellum award from the RNLI for his outstanding service to a capsized dinghy in near gale force winds and rough seas near Eastbourne pier.

Initially launched to assist the all-weather lifeboat with the recovery of a disabled fishing vessel the inshore lifeboat (ILB), helmed by Paul Metcalfe with Ian Stringer and John Cooper as crew, spotted the upturned dinghy with a woman and a 10-year- old-child clinging to the side. When alongside they found another child about 12 years old also clinging to the hull of the vessel.

John entered the water, righted the dinghy and assisted the casualties back aboard, unfortunately the dingy immediately capsized again in the rough sea, trapping one of the children beneath the upturned hull and entangled in the boat’s halyards. John dived down, released the child and assisted all three casualties aboard the ILB. Cold and exhausted the casualties were rushed to hospitaland after treatment all made a complete recovery. Paul Metcalfe and Ian Stringer also received framed letters of thanks from the RNLI for their part in the rescue. The full account of this and many more rescues can be found in ‘The story of the Eastbourne Lifeboats’ by Jeff Morrisand Dave Hendy available from the Lifeboat Museum on Eastbourne seafront.

Picture shows John Cooper and Roo presenting the cheque to Paul Metcalfe with Ian

Stringer Coxswain Mark Sawyer and the rest of the crew after Sunday training.