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 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.
“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!”
Childhood photo of Tom Greasty, Matt Steeden and James Chadwick
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.
“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.”