Lifeboat hero says a reluctant farewell

Keith (left) and Rowland with one of the lifeboats.
Keith (left) and Rowland with one of the lifeboats.
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A lifeboat stalwart is packing away his pager after 34 years of saving lives at sea.

The boss of Blackpool Lifeboat Station, Rowland Darbyshire, 70, will no longer be called out of his bed in the middle of the night or forced to drop everything to conduct treacherous rescues in the Irish Sea.

Since he was 36-years-old, the Cleveleys solicitor has dedicated his life to helping those moments from death with his team of 30 brave volunteers from all walks of life.

But RNLI rules state that retirement must come at 70 and Mr Darbyshire is forced to adhere to them. He said: “A life lost is a tragedy and a life saved is a triumph and over the years many, many lives have been saved and it’s a great honour to be part of an organisation that is instrumental in saving those lives.

“Retirement has got to come sometime and the rules are I do it at 70, but I’ve no regrets because I’m handing over to a very competent team.

“I want to let the team get on with it in their own way but I’m quite sure the friendships I’ve made will be with me for the rest of my life.”

The role of Lifeboat Operation’s Manager will be handed over to Keith Horrocks MBE, an RNLI volunteer since 1969.

Mr Horrocks, 59, of Belmont Avenue, Blackpool, said: “It’s going to be a challenge and different, but I’ve always been involved with this and have seen the crew grow up after they first came here aged 16 or 17.”

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