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Wells mourns former lifeboat Cox’n and fisherman Tony Jordan

PUBLISHED: 09:45 22 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:13 22 December 2016

Tony Jordan (right) and John Nudds pictured at a reunion for five surviving crew members of the Savinesti rescue, in 2009.  Picture: Ian Burt

Tony Jordan (right) and John Nudds pictured at a reunion for five surviving crew members of the Savinesti rescue, in 2009. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2009

The flag is at half mast at Wells harbour today in tribute to Mr Jordan, who has passed away aged 85.

The flag at half mast at Wells harbour, in tribute to Tony Jordan. Picture: Robert Smith The flag at half mast at Wells harbour, in tribute to Tony Jordan. Picture: Robert Smith

Harbour master Robert Smith said: “My first thoughts of Tony Jordan are very fond as they go back to my childhood when Tony’s dog knocked me over into a bathtub of cockles in which Tony lifted me out, brushed me down and teased me into my adulthood.

“He was the Cox’n of the Wells Lifeboat when I joined and who I held in great esteem. He was a kind and very unassuming man who always had a magical big smile and will be missed within the harbour community.”

The Wells Lifeboat crew in 2009, front, from left to right, David Cox ( coxswain ), Tony Jordan ( second cox ), John Betts, Albert Court ( first mechanic ), Alan McDonald Cox ( second mechanic ), back, John Nudds, Albert Warner and  Graham Walker.

 Picture: BH Smith The Wells Lifeboat crew in 2009, front, from left to right, David Cox ( coxswain ), Tony Jordan ( second cox ), John Betts, Albert Court ( first mechanic ), Alan McDonald Cox ( second mechanic ), back, John Nudds, Albert Warner and Graham Walker. Picture: BH Smith

Mr Jordan was a lifeboat crew member for 43 years, originally joining up in 1946.

He was Cox’n from 1986 - 89 aboard the Ernest Tom Neathercoat, which served Wells for 25 years between 1965 and 1990.

Tthe restored Ernest Tom Neathercoat, pictured in 2012, with former crew members, from left, Graham Walker, Alan Cooper, David Cox, Tony Jordan and Allan Frary. Picture; Matthew Usher. Tthe restored Ernest Tom Neathercoat, pictured in 2012, with former crew members, from left, Graham Walker, Alan Cooper, David Cox, Tony Jordan and Allan Frary. Picture; Matthew Usher.

Current Cox’n Allen Frary served alongside him during his early years as a lifeboatman.

“He was a really good seaman,” he said. “I had great confidence in him on the lifeboat and from my early years as a fisherman I’d class him as a mentor.

“He was a well-known personality along the north Norfolk coast among the fishing fraternity. It’s a sad day for Wells and a sad day for the lifeboat station.”

Mr Jordan’s most notable rescue was in February, 1979, when the lifeboat was launched in 40ft breaking seas in a blizzard to go to the assistance of a Romanian cargo ship.

The Savinesti, with 23 crew on board, had suffered engine failure and lost both her anchors 17 miles off Wells. The six-strong crew knew the risks as they set off with waves washing over the vessel.

She soon lost her radar, radio and echo sounder and it took the crew three hours to find the cargo ship in winds gusting to hurricane force 12.

Ernest Tom Neathercoat lifeboat stood by the cargo ship until she was relieved by the Humber lifeboat two hours later.

By the time the lifeboat finally returned to station, the crew were so cold they couldn’t walk. Wells itself was cut off by snow for the next three days.

Mr Jordan, who was pre-deceased by wife Enid, passed away peacefully at his home in Wells on Monday. He leaves children Stephen and Sally. His funeral is being held at St Nicholas Church, Wells, on Thursday, December 29 (1.30pm), followed by burial at Stiffkey.

Family flowers only. Donations for the RNLI and St Nicholas Church c/o T Sutton Funeral Directors, Burnt Street, Wells NR23 1HL.

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