Funeral of stalwart Skegness RNLI volunteer Ron Chapman

RNLI volunteer Ron Chapman. ANL-160306-142836001
RNLI volunteer Ron Chapman. ANL-160306-142836001

Skegness is saying a final farewell this week to a well-respected life-long volunteer with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution).

The funeral of Ron Chapman, station chairman and former Skegness lifeboat coxswain, takes place today at St Matthew’s Church at 1pm.

Mr Chapman died last month after a short battle with cancer, aged 83. He 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.

Born in Mansfield in 1932, his family moved to the Lincolnshire coast in 1944. Ron began his time as a volunteer member of the Skegness lifeboat crew in 1952 and went 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.

He 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, he continued to serve the station first as a launching authority and, since 2011, as its chairman – the position he held until his death.

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 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.”