A valued Hartlepool lifeboat volunteer, who was involved in one of the service’s most dramatic rescue operations, has retired from frontline duty after 30 years.
Tommy Price is standing down from operational duties with Hartlepool RNLI where he has served in a number of roles after turning 70.
He was on duty 22 years ago when Hartlepool’s all weather lifeboat, named Scout, capsized twice after being sent to the aid of a stricken tanker.
The Freja Svea had run aground in Teesbay in heavy seas on February 28, 1993.
On its way to help, the all weather lifeboat, which Tommy was assistant mechanic on, capsized twice in a matter of moments due to the conditions which included a force nine gale.
Fellow crew member Robbie Maiden was washed overboard and spent 30 minutes in the freezing sea before being rescued.
Both Tommy and Robbie took part in a ceremony to remember the 20th anniversary of the incident in 2013.
Tommy said: “I am disappointed to be retiring but it is RNLI policy that operational personnel have to retire at 70 years old.
“I have enjoyed my time at Hartlepool RNLI immensely and have made some good friends over the years. I won’t be leaving altogether as I will still be about the station as station administration officer.”
Tommy joined Hartlepool RNLI in 1985 as a volunteer crew member and over the years has also served as assistant mechanic on the all weather lifeboat and helm on the inshore lifeboat.
More recently he served as deputy launching authority.
Tommy was presented with camera equipment from Hartlepool RNLI crew members and received a Vellum of thanks for his long service from the RNLI.
Hartlepool RNLI’s operations manager Mike Craddy said: “Tommy has been a great asset to Hartlepool RNLI over the last 30 years and he will be greatly missed.
“I would like to thank Tommy for his long service and I personally appreciate all the help he has given to me and the lifeboat service here in Hartlepool.”