New History of Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboats
The book details the lifeboats that were stationed on Hilbre Island, which were in operation from 1848 to 1939, and the rescues they performed. It also provides a history of West Kirby Lifeboat Station, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in June 2016.
The volunteer lifeboat crews at both Hoylake and West Kirby have performed some outstanding rescues, with some recognised by the RNLI with the award of medals for gallantry. There are accounts of all the significant rescues, as well as how technology has been used to overcome the challenge of launching lifeboats across the dangerous and challenging beaches of the Wirral peninsula.
Author Nicholas Leach has worked with the station's Chairman, Operations Manager and Coxswains past and present to produce this authoritative history, which will appeal all those with an interest in sea rescue, lifeboats, shipping, maritime heritage, the Mersey and Liverpool. It contains hundreds of photographs, many unpublished, to provide a complete record of the Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboats.
'Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboats: An Illustrated History' will be available from 24th July 2016.
Hoylake and West Kirby RNLI Chairman and Hoylake RNLI LOM to retire
James Lodder and John Curry have a combined total of more than 75 years of service to the RNLI, the national charity devoted to saving lives at sea.
Long-serving Hoylake Lifeboat Coxswain retires
Dave Whiteley BEM, Coxswain of the Hoylake Lifeboat, is to retire from his post on 14th February 2016 after 40 years' service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
During his many years' volunteering for the charity, including the last 15 years as Coxswain, he has played a vital role in saving over 150 lives at sea. He was recently awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours in recognition of his service and commitment to lifesaving in his local community.
Dave joined Hoylake RNLI as volunteer crew on his 17th birthday in January 1976, following in his father's footsteps. Since then he served the RNLI in several roles including Assistant Mechanic, Second Mechanic and Second Coxswain, until he was selected as Hoylake Lifeboat's Coxswain in January 2001.
Throughout his service Dave launched with the lifeboat many times, often in difficult conditions. However, the longest and most challenging 'shout' he served on was in 1992, as a navigator under former Coxswain John McDermott aboard the station's previous lifeboat Lady of Hilbre. The lifeboat was tasked to assist the Warszawska Nike, a Polish Tall Ship with 9 persons aboard that was caught in a gale while heading to Liverpool. The lifeboat was out for almost 12 hours, often in short, steep seas with the wind gusting to hurricane force at times. Coxswain John McDermott and all of his crew, including Dave, were congratulated by the RNLI for their fine seamanship and professionalism following the vessel's safe arrival in Liverpool.
On Dave's retirement, John Curry, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Hoylake Lifeboat Station, said 'Dave has been a great inspiration to all of our crew members. As a mark of the respect in which he is held, he was elected by the crew to lead them in 2001. He has shown great skill in many dangerous casualty situations when his crew relied on his judgement. Dave has been a very popular leader with a dry sense of humour who will be missed as Coxswain. We are fortunate that he will be staying on as part of the station operations team.'
Chairman of the Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboat Stations, James Lodder, said 'Dave has worked hard as a fundraiser for the Hoylake station. He was a key member of the team that secured both the new lifeboat station which opened in 2008 and the revolutionary Shannon class lifeboat,Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood, which came into service just before Christmas 2014.'
Dave said that he has enjoyed the Coxswain's role enormously, in particular the crew camaraderie both ashore and afloat; 'The dedication and selfless commitment by Hoylake RNLI's crew, their families and supporters throughout my time with them has been outstanding.'
Succeeding Dave as Coxswain is 37 year-old Andy Dodd, the fourth generation of his family to serve the RNLI. The Dodd family has served the Hoylake Lifeboat Station, one of the oldest lifeboat stations in the UK, for almost a century and a half. Andy's father Dave Dodd MBE, a former Coxswain himself, still volunteers with Hoylake RNLI.
As a small boy Andy grew up working on his father's fishing boat on the River Dee. He joined the RNLI on his 17th birthday and has been Second Coxswain for the last 12 years. He has also served as the station's full-time Mechanic for the last 7 years. Andy said 'I am immensely honoured to be following in the line of great men who have served the local community at the RNLI station. I am grateful to my father and to Dave for all their encouragement and guidance and to the crew for their support.'
When asked what advice he would offer to his successor, Dave Whiteley said 'Enjoy the moment and the years ahead, the station is in very capable hands.'
coxswain Dave Whiteley receives BEM in Honours
We are proud to report that our Coxswain Dave Whiteley has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2016 New Year's Honours List for services to maritime safety. The award recognises Dave's 40 years of service to the RNLI, including the last 15 years as Coxswain of Hoylake Lifeboat. During his service the Hoylake Lifeboat has saved over 150 lives.
On his award, Dave said "It's a real privilege to have been recognised with this award. The Hoylake Lifeboat has always been an important part of my life, and my family's life, and it has been a honour in itself to have been able to serve the RNLI. This award also recognises the hard work and dedication of my crew and of all the volunteers who help us to serve our community and to save lives at sea."
Reginald 'Tank' Whiteley 1933 - 2015
We are sad to announce the passing of former crew Reginald 'Tank' Whiteley. Tank was a member of Hoylake Lifeboat crew for 41 years and of West Kirby Lifeboat for 5 years. He served as a shore helper from 1990-98 and as a Deputy Launching Authority until his retirement in September 2003. Tank served the RNLI for a total of 55 years, after which he still came down to the station for the lifeboat's exercises and shouts to ensure that the crew had a cup of tea or hot soup waiting for them on their return.
From 2007-08 Hoylake Lifeboat's supporters will have come to know Tank as the face of the fundraising appeal that helped build the new station. He will be sadly missed.
Tank's funeral took place on Thursday 8th October at 2:00pm, St. Hildeburgh's Church, Stanley Road, Hoylake.
Steve Armitage 1954 - 2015
We are sad to announce the passing of our Deputy Second Coxswain Steve Armitage. Steve joined Hoylake Lifeboat in 1978 carrying on the Armitage family's long-standing tradition of service with the RNLI. He was a dedicated member of the all-weather lifeboat crew from the beginning, eventually qualifying as a navigator and radio operator. In 2005 he passed out as a Deputy Second Coxswain, launching and commanding the lifeboat both on service and on exercises, and also served as the station's Sea Safety Officer and Press Officer.
In 1998 Steve was awarded the RNLI's long-service badge for 20 years devoted service to Hoylake RNLI. He later received a 30-year bar to add to it. He was also honoured in July 2008 to represent Hoylake Lifeboat Station at a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Steve was proud to have been part of the crew that brought the station's new state-of-the-art Shannon Class lifeboat 'Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood' to Hoylake last year, having also been part of the crew that helped bring the previous Mersey Class lifeboat 'Lady of Hilbre' to the station in 1990. In the time that he served, Steve played an invaluable role in the saving of over 150 lives. He will be sadly missed by all who went to sea with him over the years.
A celebration of Steve's life took place on Tuesday 12th May at 2:00pm, St. Hildeburgh's Church, Stanley Road, Hoylake.