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Retirement of Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station's Head Launcher

Lifeboats News Release

A few weeks ago, the long-serving Head Launcher at Sennen Cove, Brian Andrews, retired from the shore crew.

Tim Stevens

Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station's retired Head Launcher Brian Andrews

This summer at Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station we have witnessed the end of an era. A few weeks ago, our long-serving Head Launcher, Brian Andrews, retired from the shore crew. Born in Newlyn, Brian has had a close association with the sea for most of his life.

When he was 15 years old, he was accepted on a training course for the Merchant Navy. He was a successful trainee and achieved the status of 'Captain's Tiger', which meant, among other privileges, that he had the right to choose which shipping line he wanted to join. He chose Shell and served on their super tankers for 20 years. He has very happy memories of his life as a merchant seaman.

When he left the tankers, he spent some time in the building trade and later as a factory worker; he did not really enjoy either occupation. In 1998 he joined the shore crew at Sennen Cove. He worked under the guidance of Maurice Hutchens who had retired as coxswain and was acting as Head Launcher until a suitable replacement could be found. Brian so impressed Maurice with his commitment and skill that Maurice recommended him for the role. Within a few weeks Brian became Head Launcher and remained so until this summer, along with his present day job of caretaker to the holiday cottages in Vallandreath.

Brian has been a popular and respected member of the station personnel. When he joined, the station was served by the Mersey class all weather lifeboat The Four Boys, and he has seen, over the years, many changes, both in the boathouse, the boats, and the training requirements. He has cheerfully coped with it all, which is characteristic of him - a man with a typically Cornish sense of humour. The role of Head Launcher carries a great deal of responsibility and commitment, since without a dedicated, competent, and disciplined shore crew, launching and recovering the boats would be impossible, especially faced with the sea conditions experienced in the Cove. Over the 21 years, Brian has inspired and trained many volunteers in the shore crew, some of whom have since joined the lifeboat crew.

The respect and affection in which Brian is held were evident in the retirement party given to him a few weeks ago by everyone at the Station. Reluctantly but gracefully, Brian accepted the RNLI's requirement for retirement at 65. However, he is determined not to lose contact with the lifeboat service. His son Elliot is a crew member at both Sennen Cove and Penlee. His dog Sidney still holds pride of place as Head of Station Security.

When asked if he had any special memories as Head Launcher, he replied:

‘I have no single memorable moment, because I have just loved every minute of it.’

We wish Brian every happiness in the future, and thank him for the dedication and skill he has shown down the years.

Notes to editors

  • Please see attached a photo of Brian Andrews – Credit Tim Stevens.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Brian Simpson, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 01736 871631, or 07762 057127 or bsennen@btinternet.com, or Emma Haines, Regional Media Officer on 07786 668847 or emma_haines@rnli.org.uk, or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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