IT WAS the end of an era at Fishguard lifeboat station on Friday when long-serving coxswain Paul Butler retired after 15 years at the helm.
The 55-year-old is stepping down to devote more time to his hobbies of folk music, cycling and swimming.
“I suppose you could say it’s been a day of mixed emotions,” Paul – who has served Fishguard RNLI for 24 years – told the County Echo.
“On the one hand I suppose there’s relief at not being on call anymore, combined with regret at leaving a good crew and station.
“What will I miss most? The camaraderie of the crew – we’ve had some fun down here over the years since I took over from Frankie George.”
Paul’s career with the Fishguard station started in September 1993 when he joined as a volunteer crew member on the Arun class all-weather lifeboat Marie Winstone.
He became part of the inshore lifeboat volunteer crew in 1996 and became full-time coxswain in 2002.
“I first met Paul when he joined the crew in 1993,” David ‘Doc’ Davies, chairman of the lifeboat management group, recalled.
“As coxswain, Paul showed himself to be a very competent seaman, conscientious and a good trainer.
“Over the years, he has retained a core of experienced crew whilst introducing and encouraging new blood as needed. This has ensured the station has continued to provide an efficient lifesaving service, all at a time when the pace of change within the RNLI has been greater than ever before.”
The new Fishguard coxswain has yet to be appointed.
This week’s County Echo is out in shops now.