A LYME Regis resident has received an award for more than 50 years of voluntary service to the town’s lifeboat crew and coastguards.
Past and present members of the RNLI crew and HM Coastguard, friends and family got together at Lyme Regis Golf Club last week to celebrate the service and commitment of Graham Turner.
It all started with a canoe trip when Graham, then aged 12 ,ventured out from Lyme Regis with a friend. The canoe tipped over and his friend could not swim, so Graham swam ashore to shout for help, and went back out in an RAF launch with Dusty Miller, Geordie Thirlwell and one other.
Graham joined the lifeboat crew in December 1968, invited by helm Albert Hodder.
At just 18 years old, he saw the lifeboat called out to a catamaran but the boat tipped over and one of crew members, ‘Nimmer’ Jefford, sadly died. Graham went in and got the another crew member John Chase out of the water and received a bronze lifesaving medal for his rescue.
One of his most memorable rescues involved a yacht called ‘White Kitten’ with four people on board, near Seaton. John Hodder was at the helm in a force 10. The yacht was successfully brought back to Lyme and the lifeboat crew – John Hodder, Paul Wason, Colin Jones and Graham Turner – all received bronze medals.
The crew were also rewarded with an invite to a Buckingham Palace garden party, where they received the RNLI Ralph Glister award in recognition of the most memorable rescue of the year for an Atlantic 21 class lifeboat crew.
Graham joined the Her Majesty’s Coastguard in 1998 and later became the station officer in Lyme Regis, a role he carried out for 18 years. As the officer in charge for more than 1,000 call outs, he was often the unsung hero, but in the earlier years, Graham did receive a letter of commendation from the chief coastguard for rescuing two boys stuck in the mud, east of Charmouth.
Graham, who is now also a town councillor, was presented with a Good Conduct and Long Service Medal last week, specially minted by the Royal Mint together with Valedictory Certificate.
Peter Pritchard, who originally invited Graham to join the coastguard and served as Area Commander for the South West, made the well-deserved presentation.