Following an intensive training programme, two of Bridlington’s volunteer crew have qualified as coxswains on the new Shannon all-weather lifeboat.
Under the leadership of Coxswain Steve Emmerson crewmen Grant Walkington and Andy Rodgers will join Chris Brompton bringing the number of the stations coxswains up to four which is a first in the station’s history.
Both Grant and Andy have many years of service with Bridlington lifeboat and both have family connections with the station.
From his first steps as a boy Grant wandered around the lifeboat station following his father Fred Walkington MBE who gave 35 years service to Bridlington, 25 of which were as coxswain, and the Walkington family connection to the lifeboat service can be traced back to the Great Gale of 1871.
Grant 44 who works for the local accountants LIoyd Dowson has given 27 years service joining the RNLI at the age of 17. A helmsman on the inshore lifeboat for many years and also a passed out navigator on the all-weather lifeboat, Grant has endured many hours at sea giving help to those in need.
In recent years he was one of the crew on the inshore boat that saved two teenagers in rough seas near the North pier. Grant was also on the crew of the all-weather lifeboat that saved a kayak sailor lost at sea and this rescue was shown on the BBC television programme ‘Saving Lives at Sea’.
Andy Rodgers 39, a volunteer crewman also from the age of 17, works as Principle Maintenance Manager for the RNLI. Andy and his family are keen sailors with his father Brian being a member of the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club. Brian for some years held the post of Deputy Launching Authority at Bridlington before becoming the Lifeboat Operations Manager for a time.
As well as being a crewman on the all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat, Andy has held the position of mechanic and navigator.
In 2012 Andy received the RNLI vellum award for his part in saving a seriously injured seaman on board a 25 metre fishing vessel in Whitehaven harbour. The boat had suffered engine failure in rough seas and was being battered against the sea wall. Andy managed to jump off the sea wall onto the boat and make fast a tow rope from the Workington lifeboat.