Swanage sailors awarded medals for 20 years of lifeboat service

Two Swanage Lifeboat crew volunteers are celebrating 20 years of service to the RNLI – both before they hit the age of 40.

Matt Steeden and Tom Greasty have both been involved with the lifeboat station since a young age, and have been friends for several decades.

The pair have now received RNLI long service medals marking this major milestone in their dedication.

Matt’s story

Matt Steeden’s family has a long history of involvement with the lifeboats.

His grandfather Victor Marsh and his father Martin Steeden both served as Coxswains for Swanage Lifeboat.

Inspired by his relatives, he aspired from a young age to serve with the lifeboat crew himself, and joined the station at just 17 years of age.

Today, he is the helmsman of the inshore lifeboat and an Assistant Mechanic for the all-weather lifeboat.

Matt said:

“Since birth I have been involved with the lifeboat station. Myself and my cousins Gary Marsh and James Chadwick were christened on the boat back in 1983. I will never forget the sounds of the lifeboat, the calls to ‘knock out fore’ and ‘knock out aft’ before the rumble down the slip.

“As a child my grandad would make me pull on a rope he had tied onto the winch. He told me that unless I pulled on the rope, he couldn’t rehouse the boat. I felt so important and pulled on the rope until I couldn’t pull anymore. The rope did nothing, but I didn’t know that until I was much older!”

Tom Greasty Matt Steeden James Chadwick as children

Childhood photo of Tom Greasty, Matt Steeden and James Chadwick

Tom’s story

Tom Greasty has had a strong interest in the sea from a young age, having spent a lot of time playing on dinghies with Matt as a child. He was also a champion fisherman, winning numerous awards at Swanage Angling Club.

As well as his service as a lifeboat crew member – which he also joined aged 17 – he runs Swanage Sea Fishing and sightseeing trips from Swanage.

He is now a helmsman for the inshore lifeboat and Deputy Second Coxswain and Assistant Mechanic on the all-weather lifeboat.

Tom said:

“I joined the lifeboat crew because I work at sea. I started helping on boats aged 13 and started full time work at sea from 16 years old. I have always appreciated knowing that if anything goes wrong the RNLI are there to help, so I wanted to be part of the team that help people who are in trouble at sea.”

“We are very lucky” to have them

Swanage Lifeboat Coxswain Dave Turnbull added:

“We are very lucky to have Matt and Tom on the crew. Their years of experience are invaluable. It is only through spending hours at sea that a crew member can develop the depth of knowledge they have.

“Joining the lifeboat crew is a huge commitment. As volunteers we are regularly called away from work and family when the pager sounds, and I am grateful to all our volunteers who give their time.”

Share this story

Contact us

Do you have anything to add to this story?

We like to keep everything up-to-date, so if you know more, please help us by getting in touch.

Community comments

Top stories

Man airlifted to hospital after Durdle Door jump Despite warnings about the dangers, a man injured himself after leaping off the top of the limestone arch near Lulworth in Dorset. 3 weeks ago Man in his 20s rescued by kayakers after Old Harry fall 2 months ago Architect plans reveal site design of new Swanage statue 1 month ago Studland to get vehicle tow-away zone for summer 2 months ago New measures to help Swanage cope with visitor influx 3 weeks ago

Most recent

Swanage residents warned about parcel redelivery scam texts Citizens Advice in Dorset is warning residents to watch out for scam texts after a survey revealed that two thirds of people in the South West had been targeted. 20 hours ago Swanage Bowling Club open day to go ahead, come rain or shine! 2 days ago “Don’t learn to love your Covid cage” says Purbeck artist 3 days ago Events at Durlston Country Park set to continue – but outside! 4 days ago Wonderful Studland Ladies raise more than a smile as lockdown fundraisers 5 days ago