Lifeboat crew says farewell to long-serving coxswain

Seahouses' retired coxswain/mechanic John Hanvey.
Seahouses' retired coxswain/mechanic John Hanvey.

Seahouses lifeboat crew’s full-time coxswain/mechanic has retired after 38 years of loyal service to the RNLI.

Members of the team met at the Boathouse on Friday to say farewell to John Hanvey, who first joined the crew at the age of 17.

He was later appointed volunteer second mechanic, before becoming the full-time mechanic in 2002. In 2005, he became full-time coxswain/mechanic.

His pride in keeping the all-weather lifeboat, RNLB Grace Darling, in immaculate condition attracted much praise and comment from the many visitors to the station. His ability to engage with the public, provide tours and talks to school and group visits made him a tremendous asset to the station.

His knowledge of the treacherous areas around the Farne Islands was invaluable, as were his technical skills. His calm and good judgement made him an ideal man for the job and John will leave a very large gap to fill, where to date, the RNLI have been unable to identify a suitably qualified successor.

His retirement also marks the end of a family connection with the RNLI. John’s father passed away in December 2016 and had served the RNLI for an amazing 65 years, latterly as chairman of the station management committee up to his death. It is hoped that after a few months’ break, John may yet return as a volunteer crewman.