Job changes forces Chris to quit Sidmouth Lifeboat

PUBLISHED: 17:42 15 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:58 18 June 2010

LONG-SERVING Sidmouth Lifeboat helmsman Chris Bass has bowed out after nearly 11 years because of his job aboard a seismic research vessel searching for oil and gas fields.

LONG-SERVING Sidmouth Lifeboat helmsman Chris Bass has bowed out after nearly 11 years because of his job aboard a seismic research vessel searching for oil and gas fields.

Because his work pattern has changed, giving him less time at home in Branscombe with his pregnant wife Andrea, Chris has called it a day.

Lifeboat colleagues presented him with a signed picture of the Pride of Sidmouth lifeboat.

He joined the independent lifeboat in May 1999 at a time when Spirit of Sidmouth was on station.

Chris, 35, has seen many changes in the decade, and many he instigated, such as designing the first version of its website, the purchase of the Sidmouth Herald Lifeboat, and later its replacement, Pride of Sidmouth, a state-of-the-art four-man lifeboat.

He became a senior crew member in 2002 and a helmsman in 2006.

Chris was part of the crew who took part in the rescue of an elderly man who fell from High Peak in 2004.

He won't forget that night as he and Andrea were staying in Sidbury in preparation for their wedding, which meant he was nearer to the lifeboat station.

"I was paged at 2am and after searching along the coast as far as Crab Ledge we didn't see anything in the water so we got permission to put up parachute flares," said Chris.

Although they saw nothing with the first flare, the second one lit up the stranded man and colleague Mike Vittles spotted a leg.

"The crew heard someone shouting and using a light we managed to figure out where he was."

Beer Coastguard team recovered the man and the Coastguard helicopter airlifted him to hospital with hypothermia.

The lifeboat crew were awarded the Chief Coastguards Commendation for their part in the rescue.

"Over the years Sidmouth Lifeboat has gone from a small organisation and progressed to a much bigger one, with more professionalism and improvements.

"The lifeboat crews are always professional, their equipment is more modern and first aid training is at a higher level. I shall miss the camaraderie.


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