Volunteer marks 60 years with RNLI as lifeboat station celebrates 50th birthday

John Holden has been a member of the RNLI for 60 years. Picture: Stephen Goodger
John Holden has been a member of the RNLI for 60 years. Picture: Stephen Goodger
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A volunteer for the RNLI in Littlehampton is marking 60 years of service as the town’s lifeboat station turns 50.

John Holden was 14 when the RNLI saved his life, and since then he continually volunteered for the charity in various different posts, including as an education officer.

Members of the Littlehampton RNLI, including John Holden (centre). Picture: Stephen Goodger

Members of the Littlehampton RNLI, including John Holden (centre). Picture: Stephen Goodger

This comes as celebrations have been underway to mark the 50th year of the current lifeboat station being open in the town.

Speaking of his colleagues who go out on rescue missions, the 74-year-old said: “I think they are fantastic people, saving lives.

“As soon as their pagers or mobile phones go off, they are in their gear ready to go out in seven to nine minutes.”

When he was 14, he and his friends Eddie and Peter had to be rescued by the RNLI after they were swept out to sea on a lilo.

They were on a Sunday school trip to Littlehampton from Teddington in London when it happened, and to repay his gratitude John joined his local branch in Twickenham, where he was a member for 43 years before moving to our town. He said: “I have told the chairman I will carry on until I drop!”

During its 50 years, the lifeboat station at Fishermans Quay became well-known as the home of one of the Blue Peter-funded lifeboats, and various presenters visited over the decades.