Having clocked up a total of 70 years of volunteering between them, three members of Swanage RNLI have been recognised for their dedication to the saving lives at sea charity.
At Swanage Lifeboat Station, Colin Marks was presented with a medal for 30 years of service, while Paul Bedford and Dan Lander were both awarded with medals for 20 years of service.
Swanage Lifeboat Station with the all weather lifeboat launching during Swanage Lifeboat Week 2023
Left to right: Dan Lander, Paul Bedford and Colin Marks
Medal for 30 years of service
RNLI volunteer Colin Marks joined as a lifeboat crew member on both the inshore and all weather lifeboats in January 1993. Colin completed just over 10 years of service on the inshore lifeboat, retiring from that boat in 2003 and continued on the all weather lifeboat for a further 13 years.
During Colin’s service he became one of the all weather lifeboat assistant mechanics, spending an extra evening every week maintaining the lifeboat.
As a Swanage lifeboat crew member, Colin attended 300 incidents and clocked up more than 1,000 hours at sea on rescues with more than half of them during the hours of darkness.
In 2016, Colin stepped down from his role on the seagoing crew, but his volunteering did not stop there. Colin took on a position as deputy launch authority, overseeing the lifeboat launches. Colin has spent seven years in this role, taking his total service to 30 years for the RNLI.
Colin Marks (far left) was part of the all weather lifeboat crew
As an assistant mechanic Colin Marks spent much of his time on lifeboat maintainance
Long service medals for 20 years each
Paul Bedford and Dan Lander joined the Swanage RNLI in 2003. They have both grown up in Swanage and went to school together along with several other fellow crew members. They are both still active crew members.
Paul is a shore crew volunteer responsible for the launch and recovery of the Swanage lifeboats over the years. When Paul first started, he trained alongside long serving winchman and head launcher Jon Deare.
A younger Paul Bedford
Paul Bedford (far left) as part of the shore crew with the old Swanage all weather lifeboat
“Wanted to be a part of the team”
In 2014, Paul took on the position of head launcher following Jon’s retirement, a role he continues to fulfil.
“I grew up working on the boats from the Stone Quay and I got to know a few crew members at that time, including Vic Marsh, Walt Bishop and Tony Byron. To me they were classed as the best of the best and I wanted to be a part of the team.”
Over his 20 years, Paul has assisted with more than 1,300 lifeboat launches which has included the launch of our former Mersey class all weather lifeboat, our current Shannon class lifeboat, and our D-class inshore lifeboat.
A younger Dan Lander
At Swanage Lifeboat Week in 2023, Dan Lander (right) with other members of the crew
“Keen to help others”
Dan Lander is part of the seagoing crew, volunteering on both the inshore and all weather lifeboats. In 2008, Dan became a navigator on the all weather lifeboat and, in 2011, he became one of the helms of the inshore lifeboat.
Dan comes from a maritime background, having crewed on local fishing boats for many years, bringing his experience of the local coastal area to his roles at the RNLI. He also applies his seagoing knowledge to his day job, as part of the Dorset Police Marine Force Support Group.
“I was raised in a fishing family, and fortunate to have spent my childhood on and around boats. I left school at 16 and began working as a lobster fisherman with my father out of Swanage.
“Fishing can be a dangerous job and it provided me with a respect for the water. I joined the Swanage lifeboat crew, keen to help others who found themselves in difficulty at sea.”
Over the years Dan has accumulated more than 700 sea hours with the RNLI, attending 115 incidents and being involved in the saving of five lives, and aiding with the rescue of more than 100 people.
Part of the community, Swanage Lifeboat crew at the Swanage Carnival in 2003. Colin Marks (top row, centre) with Dave Turnbull (top row, right)
“Grateful for their dedication”
Swanage Lifeboat coxswain, Dave Turnbull said:
“I am fortunate to have served with Colin, Paul and Dan. We are lucky to have so many crew at Swanage who have committed to volunteer for such long periods of time and I’m very grateful for their dedication.”