'An iron man in a wooden boat' - Tribute paid to legendary coxswain

Nicky King, coxswain RNLI Wells, speaking at David Cox's funeral at Cromer Crematorium. Picture: Dan

Nicky King, coxswain RNLI Wells, speaking at David Cox's funeral at Cromer Crematorium. - Credit: Danielle Booden

“I think the easy way to define him was, he was a true gentleman.”

Those were the works of Nicky King, current Wells lifeboat coxswain, who has paid tribute to predecessor David Cox after his death aged 96 on Sunday, April 24.

Mr King knew Mr Cox since he was 12-years-old, having moved to Wells from Brancaster Staithe to work as a fisherman. There he met Mr Cox and began working for him on his boat, the Four Brothers.

The ceremonial launch of the Lucy Lavers at Rescue Wooden Boats in Stiffkey - Lucy Lavers last coxwa

The ceremonial launch of the Lucy Lavers at Rescue Wooden Boats in Stiffkey - Lucy Lavers last coxwain David Cox. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Archant

The crew were fishing for whelks 25-miles off the coast, where Mr King described the calming nature the former coxswain had.

“He was good as gold, he was a true gentleman, fairly quiet and modest, and did not blow his own trumpet. A good seaman who had been there all his life,” he said.

“He was a nice bloke, I learned a lot from him.

"In those days before electronics, he was incredible at reading the water and watching the compass.

“He had so much knowledge of the sea, he was certainly the best seaman I’ve ever seen.”

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The pair also worked together on the town's lifeboats, where Mr Cox again was able to help every single member of his crew calm in these situations.

“He never seemed to get too worried, he had so much courage and determination,” Mr King added.

“He helped all of us and always had a word of advice. He had been there and done that, and he was always happy to share the knowledge with us.”

It wasn’t just on the sea where Mr Cox had his impact, he also founded the Wells lifeboat service which is held at the town’s Quayside every year.

New Wells lifeboat coxswain Nicky King. Picture: RNLI

New Wells lifeboat coxswain Nicky King. Picture: RNLI - Credit: Archant

Mr King, who has been coxswain since 2018 said he was there to share advice for every aspect of the role.

“I remember when I did my first reading at the service, and I really hate public speaking,” he said.

“He said to me, 'just picture them as a row of cabbages'.

“I lost a good friend, the RNLI lost part of the station and part of the town has gone.

“He was the last of his generation. An iron man in a wooden boat.”

Wells harbourmaster Robert Smith also paid tribute to Mr Cox: “He was one of the most unassuming and modest men you would ever meet.

“He was truly one of the nicest men you would ever hope to meet, he was one of my harbour commissioners and he always had time for a chat and to offer a piece of advice.

“He will be missed.”

Mr Cox's funeral was held on Wednesday.