Passing of crew member Geoff Ormrod
We are sad to announce the passing of our friend and crew member Geoff Ormrod. Geoff joined Hoylake Lifeboat in 1961, aged 16 and served as a crew member for 56 years. He held many positions within his service, including signalman, first aider, 2nd Mechanic and later Coxswain from 1998 to 2001. On 20th September 1979, he was part of a bronze medal service in storm force conditions to the yacht Truganini. During his time as Coxswain, Geoff was presented with a letter of appreciation from the RNLI's Operations Director for a service on a very stormy Christmas morning in 1999. Geoff retired as Coxswain in 2001 and remained an active Shore Crew member. He also became RNLI Divisional Assessor Trainer within the North Division, passing on his wealth of knowledge and experience. In 2011, Geoff was presented with the RNLI's Thanks on Vellum for his 50 years of dedicated operational service. Geoff will be sincerely missed by all that had the pleasure of knowing and going to sea with him.
New History of Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboats
An outstanding new book about the history of the Hoylake, Hilbre Island and West Kirby Lifeboats is to be published this month. This comprehensive history of the Hoylake station, one of the oldest lifeboat stations in the country, describes all the major events, rescues, lifeboats and characters involved since the first lifeboat was built by the Liverpool Dock Trustees in 1803.

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 It contains hundreds of photographs, many unpublished, to provide a complete record of the Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboats.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.

James, the popular Chairman of Hoylake and West Kirby RNLI Lifeboats, is to retire after more than 30 years of dedicated work for the charity. John, the tireless Lifeboat Operations Manager at Hoylake Lifeboat Station has still more to give. After 46 years of service he is to continue as James’ successor as Chairman.
 
The RNLI is dependent on volunteers like James and John who work selflessly, often behind the scenes, to keep the charity and its vital work running smoothly.
 
James volunteered to help at Hoylake Lifeboat Open Day in 1985 and since then has put in thousands of hours in administration and fund-raising for the organisation. He has held numerous positions within the local RNLI and has been a real stalwart in supporting their life-saving efforts.
 
He was elected to both the Station and the Financial Branch Committees back in 1987 and became the Station Treasurer when the Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboat financial accounts merged in 2005. He continued in this role until he took over the position of Chairman of the Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboat Management Group in 2011.
 
During recent years James was Treasurer for the appeals to raise funds for the building of Hoylake RNLI’s magnificent lifeboat station and for the funding of her new high-tech Shannon Class lifeboat, achievements of which he is justifiably proud.
 
Andy Dodd, Coxswain of Hoylake Lifeboat said; ‘James is a true gentleman in all his dealings with the crew and officials. He has always strived for only the very best for Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboats and will be greatly missed by everyone. We’ll be very sorry to see him retire but on behalf of all the Hoylake crew he has our sincere best wishes and grateful thanks for a job well done.’
 
James is modest about his voluntary work during his time with the RNLI. Although he is well-known in his public-speaking role as Chairman, he has never been shy to take on the much lowlier, but nevertheless essential tasks, of ‘bucket-rattling’ and ‘counting the pennies at Open Days’ for the charity. He has attended countless rallies, collections and other speaking events over his RNLI career.
 
In recognition of his achievements, the RNLI awarded James their Silver Badge in 1999 and the Gold Badge in 2011.
 
Of his time at his local RNLI lifeboats, James said; ‘I have really enjoyed being involved with the lifeboat service and I am proud to have played a small part in what has been a very exciting time in the history of the lifeboats in Hoylake and West Kirby.’
 
John Curry was a serving Liverpool Marine Pilot when he had his first “shout”. He answered the call to a maroon for West Kirby inshore lifeboat back in March 1970.  The following year he enrolled as a crew member with the West Kirby boat and served there for twenty years. In November 1991 he was awarded the RNLI’s Long Service Badge.
 
During this period he was involved in many rescues, the most notable perhaps being part of the crew for the rescue of two men, whose canoe had capsized close to Hilbre Island on the ebb of a very high tide in the early spring of 1980.
 
On his birthday in May 1991 John enrolled with the Hoylake Lifeboat Station as a Deputy Launching Authority, standing down from his duties at West Kirby in the November of that year. Soon after arriving at Hoylake he also became their Lifeboat Press Officer.
 
In April 2001 he took over as Honorary Secretary of Hoylake Lifeboat, a title which was soon to change to Lifeboat Operations Manager, the position he will hold until his birthday in May of this year.
 
John said; “I’ve been fortunate, not only to have been involved in rescuing lives at sea, but also in bringing the station into the 21st century with the planning and building of the superb new lifeboat station at Hoylake. I am immensely proud to have been able to accept the revolutionary Shannon Class lifeboat at Hoylake on my watch.”
 
John is delighted to be continuing his service with the RNLI as he will become Chairman of the Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboat Stations on the same day that he retires as Lifeboat Operations Manager. He said; “Being involved with the lifeboat is a very rewarding way of life. I feel privileged to have been involved with saving lives at sea and relish the opportunity to continue this commitment in a different role.”
 
Former Coxswain Dave Whiteley, who will succeed John as Lifeboat Operations Manager, said; “John has never failed to give his very best for the station and the crew at Hoylake. His dynamism and never-failing enthusiasm throughout all his years of service have been inspirational. Thank you John!”

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.