Volunteer’s 50 years as Lyme lifeboatman and coastguard

Graham Turner welcomed with a guard of honour by members of the current Lyme Regis Coastguard and RN

Graham Turner welcomed with a guard of honour by members of the current Lyme Regis Coastguard and RNLI teams. Picture Seb Cope - Credit: Archant

A volunteer’s half a century of service to the RNLI and Coastguard in Lyme Regis has been honoured.

Past and present members of both maritime originations - along with family and friends - gathered at the town's golf club to celebrate Graham Turner's milestone half century.

Mr Turner joined the RNLI lifeboat crew in December 1968, invited by helm Albert Hodder.

As an 18-year-old, he saw the lifeboat called out to a catamaran, but the boat tipped over and one of crew members, 'Nimmer' Jefford died.

Mr Turner jumped in and got the other crew member John Chase out of the water. He received a bronze lifesaving medal for this rescue.

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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.

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The yacht was successfully brought back to Lyme.

The lifeboat crew, John Hodder, Paul Wason, Colin Jones and Graham Turner all received a bronze medal.

That led to an invite to Buckingham Palace for garden party to be awarded the RNLI Ralph Glister award in recognition of the most memorable rescue of the year for an Atlantic 21 class lifeboat crew.

Mr Turner joined the Her Majesty's Coastguard in 1998 and later became the station officer, 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'.

In the earlier years, he did receive a letter of commendation from the chief coastguard for rescuing two boys stuck in the mud, east of Charmouth.

Mr Turner was presented with a Good Conduct and Long Service Medal specially created by the Royal Mint together with Valedictory Certificate.

Peter Pritchard, who originally invited him to join the Coastguard and was area commander for the South West, made the well-deserved presentation.

The gathering heard how Mr Turner's 50 years' involvement with the maritime rescue services all started with a canoe trip with a friend when he was 12.

The vessel tipped over and his pal could not swim so Mr Turner swam ashore and shouted for help and went back out to rescue him in an RAF launch with local lifesavers Dusty Miller, Geordie Thirlwell, and one other.

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