Weston RNLI stalwart assumes command of the Weston Lifeboat Station.

Thursday, 09 February 2017

Richard Spindler is known to many at Weston as the heart of the local RNLI crew, who volunteer whenever needed to save lives at sea After more than 50 years saving lives at Weston RNLI Lifeboat Station, Richard Spindler is appointed as its new Lifeboat Operations Manager.

As soon as he was old enough, Richard Spindler, now 68, volunteered at Weston-super-Mare lifeboat station. As a 17-year-old, he learnt the skills he needed to save lives on the lifeboat and remained committed to the station and its local community for the next 50 years, earning several bravery awards for rescues in extreme conditions.

During a fierce gale in November 1978, Richard helped rescue three boys and two men trapped in a cave by the rising tide. He braved breaking surf and darkness and was awarded a Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum for his courage. Eight years later he was awarded another Vellum for a similar rescue. He retired as active boat crew in 1996 to take on the role of Deputy Launching Authority and becoming part of the team responsible for launching the lifeboat instead. During his time on the lifeboats, 218 lives were saved by the station’s volunteers.

As a charity, the RNLI depends on donations, and Richard is also a dedicated and enthusiastic fundraiser. He also uses his experiences on the lifeboat to inspire young people and teach them about sea safety.

As well as his awards for bravery Richard has received a Gold Badge from the RNLI, was one of the Prime Minister’s Pillars of Light and last year received the MBE.

The Weston Station has been run by Charlotte Conroy for the last three years. However her job as a police detective constable has now become so busy that she feels she cannot devote enough time to the lifeboat station. As a result she has decided to step down and Richard, who was her deputy, has been appointed to succeed her in this very busy role.

Charlotte Conroy said;’ Richard is a lovely man who is an inspiration to us all. Many lives have been saved but many more have been enriched thanks to his dedication and quiet guidance. I am sure he will run the station using all his vast experience and ensuring Weston RNLI continues to be the most successful RNLI Station on this coast.’

Don Sutherland, chairman Weston RNLI Lifeboat Management Group said;’ It is fitting that our local RNLI hero is now in charge of the whole station. He knows more than any other person about saving lives in the Weston sea area and is highly respected by all the crew and fundraisers. We look forward to his time at the helm with great optimism.’