The Craster Lifeboat

Jimmy Shaw
During my 25 years as a founder member of the Lifeboat Committee and treasurer of both the committee and the ladies Lifeboat Guild, Craster village raised over £60,000 of which, roughly, £40,000 was donated to central lifeboat funds at Poole, whilst £22,000 was put aside towards building a new boat house. Poole commented that Craster was one of only three lifeboat stations to be self-supporting and, in addition, able to send money to central funds. The ladies put a great deal of hard work into organizing the annual Harbour Fete and were handsomely supported by the entire populace.

Willie Mitford
When I was a youngster the wreck came ashore at the Hole in the Dyke, called the 'Hara Fagra' it was loaded with pit props. The next one I can remember was on the sands at Newton and there was one at the Cushat, just below the Castle, it was like a trawler. My uncle, Luke Robson, had sets of clothing to clothe anyone who came ashore from the wrecks. It was the Shipwrecked Mariners' Association. He was their agent here and after that he would take them to Alnwick and maybe fit them out with clothes.

Keith Williams
Now from a personal point of view those were my first ever services. They were on the 1st May, 1982, which was also my 21st Birthday. We got a framed letter of appreciation, and you thought 'no big deal' because we actually exercise in worse conditions than there were that day. However, the rescue that sticks in my mind was the one that came in eight days later. We didn't have two in one day - we had two simultaneously. Initially we were called to a small rowing boat with three adults in, which was being blown out to sea off Football Hole. We went across there, threw them a line, with the intention of towing them back into Newton Haven. Because the boat is quite conspicuous on the sea and it was a calmish day with a bit of a swell, another boat came in on the south side of Newton Point, basically to see what we were doing, caught a wave broadside and went upside down, throwing approximately (can't quite remember) three adults and four children into the sea, with no life jackets. We then found ourselves in the situation where we had to cut the first casualty free, promising to come back later, whizzing round the point and fishing everybody out of the water, back to shore and then returned to get the rowing boat......

Martin Browell
I'm currently one of five helmsmen. The designation of the crew has changed over the past few years and we have five helmsmen and the rest are designated crew. That broke the mould as my family have always been Coastguards, my father ran the Station here and my own brother Peter, was a Coastguard. I signed up and had my medical and then I moved back from Luton and have been here for the past ten years and have been involved on a regular basis ever since, to the point where I am now - Training Co-ordinator - which is a new role introduced to combat this new litigious society. In the early days everybody was taught by the previous crew. I was taught by Gary Jobling and David Clarke. Nowadays it's all written down in books, so that's my role. Totally, off the top of my head, in ten years I've probably rescued 30 people, windsurfers blown off shore, boats breaking down, etc.

I'm really proud of what I do and the one time that I felt really important was the time when a small rowing dinghy was blown off Embleton bay, in a very strong westerly wind, father and four young children aboard. To bring those children back in safely and to see the look on the mother's face gives you an immense feeling of satisfaction......

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