Martin Jaggs, long-serving coxswain and mechanic at Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station, is leaving to take up a new key regional role with the RNLI.
He has been appointed division operations manager of the new England Central Division of the RNLI, which will see him in overall charge of 11 lifeboat stations from Lytham to Barrow on the West Coast and from the Humber to Scarborough on the East.
Replacing Martin at Lytham St Annes as coxswain from January 1 will be Gary Bird, previously deputy second coxswain, who joined the Lytham St Annes crew in 2004, having previous been involved with the RNLI in his home town of Hoylake since 1974.
Gary is employed by the RNLI as an assessor, travelling around stations to check and standardise their training procedures and give advice and further training if necessary.
Martin, who has held the dual roles of coxswain and station mechanic since 1999, joined the volunteer lifeboat crew in 1988 and quickly progressed to become second assistant mechanic four years later.
With the retirement of Tony West in 1995, Martin was promoted to take his place thus becoming the station’s one full time employee, all the rest being volunteers.
Martin, who turns 50 early next month and will continue to live in Lytham after taking up the new post, said: “It was quite a difficult decision but I felt it was something I had to do.
“I have been very proud to be part of the RNLI at Lytham St Annes and I will miss everyone there but the station will be in good hands and I look forward to going back and seeing everyone there as part of the new role.”
His appointment as coxswain, in itself a volunteer position, meant he was not only in command of the Lifeboat when she was at sea but had many other commitments regarding the welfare of the crew and dealing with the general public as a senior representative of the station.
Martin’s other role as station mechanic will be covered on a temporary basis by Lytham’s Ben McGarry.