Father-son team hang up their lifejackets after combined 70 years service at Blackpool RNLI

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A father and son team who have dedicated a combined 70 years of service to Blackpool RNLI are finally hanging up their life jackets as they retire from saving lives at sea.

Keith Horrocks MBE, 68, became an RNLI volunteer in 1969 at the age of 15, serving as a member of the shore crew before moving onto the Liverpool class all weather lifeboat. In 1975, when the Liverpool class was withdrawn, and replaced by an Atlantic inshore lifeboat, he became a helmsman, leading countless searches along the Fylde coast.

He served as a crew member until 1998, when he became the station’s inshore lifeboat mechanic and support manager, promoting visitor engagement in larger RNLI organisations in the UK and Ireland.

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In 2005, his son Jonathan Horrocks, 34, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, becoming an RNLI volunteer aged 17. He became the helmsman of the D class inshore lifeboat, and was recognised for his lifesaving efforts when he received an RNLI letter of thanks for his part in a rescue in 2015.

Keith and Jonathan HorrocksKeith and Jonathan Horrocks
Keith and Jonathan Horrocks

Keith said: “The RNLI has been a part of my life since I was a teenager, I have met some incredible and dedicated people in both my volunteer roles and working career with the RNLI and I have been part of some incredible crews over the years. I have seen the highs and lows of being a part of the team at Blackpool with memories that will never leave me. It has been one hell of a ride but now it is time to get off and let the younger crew carry on the important job of saving lives at sea off the Fylde coast.”

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Keith, who has been involved in countless rescues during his 53 years with the Blackpool crew, was awarded an RNLI bronze medal for gallantry in January 1988, and was awarded an MBE for services to the RNLI in 1999.

Blackpool RNLI volunteer deputy launching authority Ian Butter said: “With over 50 years of dedicated and unbroken service to saving lives at sea in Blackpool, it is difficult to express just how much Keith’s departure will be felt by us all. The level of expertise and depth of knowledge he has imparted over the years has resulted in a succession of highly competent and capable crew members, who now pass on that same wisdom to the new generation. This is a legacy Keith can be truly proud of.”

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Jonathan, meanwhile, said his decision to step down as a volunteer arose after he moved house, and was no longer able to respond to call-outs.

He said: ‘It isn’t possible for me to dedicate the time and effort to the RNLI that I want to and I am therefore stepping aside. I’ve had a great 17 years with all at the station. I’ve made some great friends and shared some experiences I will never ever forget.”

Ian said: “Like father like son, Johno has been a committed and capable lifeboat crew member using his skills to save lives on many occasions. We will miss them at the boathouse and wish them both the very best for the future.

"We must also express our huge thanks to Keith’s wife Lynda, who has provided consistent and unfailing support over the years for both husband and son.”

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