Rodney Burge honoured for a lifetime’s service with RNLI

Posted on 18th May 2023 | in Community , Heritage & Tourism

On 25 March Amble RNLI members met together to honour a loyal member. The team had managed to keep the event a secret, so it came as a complete surprise to the person in question, Rodney Burge MBE.

Rodney Burge MBE

Adrian Carey, Head of RNLI SW Region, presented Rodney with a Vellum (certificate) which read “For commitment to both the institution and his fellow volunteers and his personal contribution which has helped the RNLI save lives at sea.”

He was also presented with a bottle of genuine Navy rum, now only available for such occasions, and a crystal with a Shannon lifeboat etched inside the glass.

In reply Rodney said, “It was nice to feel appreciated by everyone.” But he also emphasised it’s not just one man that takes a boat out, it’s all about teamwork.

Chairman John Young said, “Rodney has attended many presentation events at the lifeboat house as older members retired, but as he has no intention of retiring, we organised this event to make the presentation possible.”

The occasion clearly put into perspective how highly people thought of Rodney. Expressing his appreciation for all the effort that had gone into making the event go well, but also throughout his lifeboat career, he was overcome with emotion. He said he was so thankful for the support of the crew over the years as well as each of his and their family members.

He said, “There are only a few folk who truly know what happens aboard the boats and the effect it has on the crew. One of the finest compliments I’ve received came from a crewman’s wife saying how she knew that if her husband was onboard the boat with me in charge, she knew he was going to come home that night.”

Rodney and Adrian Carey(seated) with the crew and committee of Amble RNLI

Rodney joined the Amble Lifeboat crew in 1969 after leaving service in the Royal Navy onboard HMS Dreadnought, Britain’s first nuclear submarine. He then fulfilled his boyhood dream to join the lifeboat, starting out as a crew member, eventually moving up to coxswain, then applying his knowledge as manager and training officer and now he is Amble RNLI’s media officer. In 2021 he was awarded a 50 years’ service medal.

Among his other achievements he wrote a book ‘Amble and Hauxley Lifeboat Station’ published by the RNLI and recently rereleased. Rodney signed copies sold at the event.

Rodney’s family said how much he had enjoyed seeing and speaking to everyone, reminiscing on past stories and catching up with them all and just having a laugh with good friends. His family were extremely proud of all he had achieved.

Rodney’s granddaughter Courtney Stewart told The Ambler, “He was totally unaware of what was planned and it left him speechless. He was staggered by the number of people that showed up, which overwhelmed him a bit as he’s not used to people making such a fuss. He’s more used to just getting on with the job.”

Vivienne Dalgliesh

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