Award for experienced Beachy Head coastguard

AN EXPERIENCED coastguard who has recovered many bodies from Beachy Head Cliff has been given a special award.

Eastbourne RNLI senior helmsman Dave Needham has been presented with his Long Service Award to mark 20 years continuous voluntary service to Eastbourne lifeboats.

Dave first joined the Eastbourne Lifeboat Station when he was just fifteen years of age to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. At the age of seventeen he became both an all-weather and inshore crewmember and five years ago was made a Senior Helmsman for the ILB.

During his time at Eastbourne Lifeboat Station he has received a number of ‘Letters of Commendation and Thanks’ from The RNLI Chief Executive congratulating him on some of the more difficult service calls he has carried out with the ILB. Some of these inevitably included the difficult task of recovering bodies from Beachy Head.

Dave’s full-time occupation is as the Assistant Marina Manager at Sovereign Harbour, a post he has held for eight years since first joining the Harbour team in 1999. Dave is married to Tracy and has two children, Jade (12) and Ryan (9).

In presenting the award, Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Metcalfe said it was a privilege for him to be able to acknowledge the contribution that one of the most popular crewmembers has made to Eastbourne lifeboats over a very long period.

Press Officer Bob Jeffery added: “I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean with Dave in 2008 and there’s certainly no one I’d rather have by my side in a crises – he’s the calmest man I’ve ever met when the pressure is on”.