RNLI Stalwart Dies following short battle with Cancer
Monday 30 May 2016
Author: Adam Holmes
Ronald Philip Chapman, 1932 – 2016: Lifeboating Stalwart.
Monday 23 May 2016
Life-long RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) volunteer, station chairman and former Skegness lifeboat coxswain Ron Chapman, has died after a short battle with cancer, aged 83.
Ron was the first of three generations of lifeboat crew members serving the RNLI along the Lincolnshire coast, with sons and grandsons both serving the Institution.
In total, Ron spent 37 years as part of the Skegness lifeboat crew before his retirement from seagoing activities in December 1989.
Ron was born in Mansfield in 1932, his family moving to the Lincolnshire coast in 1944. It wasn’t long before Ron became involved with the RNLI, joining as a shore helper in 1946 at the age of 14.
Returning to the town after National Service, Ron began his time as a volunteer member of the Skegness lifeboat crew in 1952. He would go on to serve as crew until 1965 when he was promoted to Bowman - the last crewman to hold the position in the RNLI before the post was retired.
Ron served on three Skegness lifeboats the Anne Allen, The Cuttle and the Charles Fred Grantham. In 1985, Ron was appointed second coxswain of the Charles Fred Grantham, moving up to coxswain of the same vessel in 1989.
During his years of dedicated service as an officer and crew member at Skegness, the lifeboats rescued 235 lives.
After his retirement from active service for the RNLI, Ron’s enthusiasm and passion for the Institution didn’t wane. He continued to serve the station first as a launching authority and, since 2011, as its chairman – the position he held until his death on Saturday.
Ron was a great friend to all the crew both young and old, modest and unassuming with regard to his service, always ready with a story or advice which he delivered with humility and a quiet patience.
Missing from the station only whilst pursuing his passion for travelling around the continent in his motor home, Ron was an ever present figure in the boathouse and often the first to greet returning crews as he brandished a hose pipe, to help with the washing down of the lifeboats.
Lifeboat Operations Manager at Skegness, Alan Fisher, said: ‘Ron will be greatly missed by all the crew, fundraisers, and Shop volunteers at Skegness, he was well respected and had a wealth of knowledge with regard to the local tide and beach conditions, and would always give worthy advice if he was asked”.
He added: "He enjoyed the Chairman’s position at Skegness and nothing gave him more pleasure than presenting long service awards and Badges when asked. His lifelong passion was Skegness Lifeboat and his passing has left a huge void at the Station”.