Coxswain’s ‘emotional’ final voyage after 42 years with the RNLI
- Credit: Archant
It has been a part of his life for 42 years, but now popular RNLI coxwain Allen Frary has stepped down from his role as coxswain of the Wells Lifeboat Station.
But such a record of hard graft and keeping people safe at sea could not go without a decent send-off, and nothing could have been more fitting than a final trip out onto the North Sea with friends and fellow lifesavers.
Mr Frary, 64, said his final day on duty - Friday, March 30 - was one to remember.
He said: “It was an emotional day, saying goodbye to everything I have known.
“We had an exercise planned for that morning, and it had been arranged that the Cromer crew and the Sheringham crew came over with their boats to meet us outside Wells Harbour.
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“Then I took all the Wells Station crew out on a farewell trip - my last day with the boat.”
Mr Frary, who has been the station’s coxswain for the past 21 years, said it was the people he had known along the way he would miss the most.
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He said: “I have made met some lovely people and made some great friends. I will miss the camaraderie of the station and the spirit that runs through the whole RNLI, right from the headquarters down.
“I will still have those friends of course, but it will in a slightly different context now.”
The day after his final shift, Mr Frary began his retirement up in Scotland, in a quiet spot by Loch Sunart on the west coast.
But he said his new lifestyle would certainly not mean an end to boating and enjoying the sea.
He said: “The plan is, when we get organised I shall be getting about on the water, and we’ll see if we can’t catch a few fish for the freezer.”
Mr Frary, who was a fisherman before he took on the job of coxswain, said he had been “playing around on boats” since he was five years old, and had always known the importance of lifeboats.
Mr Frary, who has also been Wells Town Council chairman, has received commendations including one for rescuing a Dutch sailing barge and another for rescuing a yacht caught on Wells Bar in heavy weather.
Crew members and volunteers have wished him well for a happy retirement.
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