Hartlepool RNLI Lifeboat operations manager Mike Craddy has retired from the post he has held for 20 years.
The former Tees Sailing Club Commodore is standing down to enjoy his retirement with his boat on the Norfolk Broads.
The Hartlepool 66-year-old said: “It’s been a pleasure working with such a dedicated bunch of volunteers.
“Watching the boats going to sea on shouts and seeing them returning safely with casualties has been extremely rewarding over the years. It’s a great feeling knowing that you have played a small part in saving a person’s life or simply being able to send a lifeboat out to tow a casualty back.
“I will miss the volunteer crew and the characters amongst them terribly. They have all become great friends over the years and I cannot fault their commitment.”
When asked about some of the highlights of his time, Mike recalls: ‘Winning the ‘Pride of Britain’ award a few years ago was obviously special but every time the pager went off was always special as you knew we were needed to help someone in trouble.
“I will keep in touch with everyone, but it will be very strange not to to be wearing a pager 24/7 or receive phone calls from the Coastguards. But I’m leaving the station and volunteers in the safe hands of Chris Hornsey and I wish him and the crew all the best for the future.”
Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden, who recently received his 30 year RNLI service award, said: “Mike has been a tremendous manager at the station over the years.
“He was always the last to leave the station after a shout having made sure everyone was OK and the boats made ready for the next service, but most of all his friendship and leadership have been outstanding over the years.”
Mike hands over the role of lifeboat operations manager to deputy launch authority at the station Chris Hornsey who said: “Mike is a hard act to follow, he has and always will have a lot of respect from myself and the volunteers here and I would like to wish him a peaceful retirement.”