New 'Guy' becomes the Coxswain of Bembridge RNLI
After fifteen years in charge, Steve Simmond retired as the Coxswain at Bembridge RNLI at midnight on Saturday 30 June 2018. His successor is local crew member Guy Willing.
Guy moved to the Island in 1974 when his father, who was in the Navy, was posted to Portsmouth. He went to Bembridge Primary then Bembridge Middle School, followed by Sandown High School.
Guy served for five years in the Royal Engineers and undertook tours to the Falklands, Belize, Germany, Denmark and Cyprus. He then worked for Southern Electric for 10 years before changing careers to work for Associated British Ports (ABP), initially as a 2nd Coxswain, then subsequently as a Marine Officer (Pilotage). In his role with ABP, he has steamed, on average, 10,000 to 15,000 miles per annum to service approximately 1,000 ships in all weather conditions.
Guy first became involved with Bembridge RNLI in 1977 at the age of 10 when a friend’s father was the then 2nd Coxswain Mechanic; his key responsibility - cleaning the brass on the Solent Class Lifeboat Jack Shayler and the Lees.
He was a crewman on our D class Inshore Lifeboat and the Tyne All-Weather Lifeboat from 1994 -1998 and after 10 years away rejoined as a crewman in 2008 and developed his skills including becoming an Assistant Mechanic. He has been involved in over 150 rescues as a volunteer with Bembridge RNLI.
Guy's main interests centre around sailing. He has owned several different yachts and currently owns a Nicholson 31, which he sails mainly single handed. In 2016, he sailed in the Jester Challenge to Baltimore Ireland via the Scillies and Fastnet rock from Plymouth and returned, without stopping, to Cowes. He regularly sails to France, the Channel Islands and the West Country. He enjoys cycling and regularly commutes to work, covering approx. 60 miles per week. Guy is married and he has three daughters.
In Guy's words: 'Becoming the Coxswain of Bembridge Lifeboat has been a life time ambition and I look forward to working with Bryan Jones, our Lifeboat Mechanic and all the volunteer members of our great team at Bembridge to continue our mission of saving lives at sea that stretches back 151 years.'
Steve Simmonds started his link with the RNLI back in 1987 as a boat-builder at the Inshore Lifeboat Centre in East Cowes; he joined the Bembridge crew in 1996 and took over as the Coxswain of Bembridge Lifeboat in 2003. As for the future, 'I am much looking forward to being able to spend time fishing and enjoying seeing more of the UK with my wife Lyn and our dog Milly in our motorhome. I will look back at my service with the RNLI with great pride and I know that Guy will be an excellent Coxswain - I have after all helped train him for the role!'
RNLI media contacts
· Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or email@example.com
· Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07785 296252 firstname.lastname@example.org
· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.