Yorkshire RNLI volunteer ‘told he’s no longer needed’ after 48 years of service

Paul Staveley (back row, far right) pictured with the rest of the Bridlington Lifeboat crew earlier this year.
Paul Staveley (back row, far right) pictured with the rest of the Bridlington Lifeboat crew earlier this year.

The family of a Bridlington Lifeboat volunteer who has been told he can’t continue with his duties after reaching the age of 70 say the decision is ‘disgusting and disrespectful’.

Paul Staveley devoted almost half a century to the RNLI, but posts on social media at the weekend claimed he found out last Wednesday when he returned from holiday that ‘he was no longer needed’.

Paul Staveley when he stepped down from going out on the boat at the age of 55.

Paul Staveley when he stepped down from going out on the boat at the age of 55.

In a post on Facebook, his son Alex said: “After 48 years of service he was told they no longer wanted him down at the station. I think this is disgusting and disrespectful after everything he has done.

“It’s upsetting for him and his family.”

Paul was no longer able to go out on the boat once he passed 55 years of age but he went to the station every Wednesday to clean the boat, equipment and the station.

His wife Carole also posted on social media and there were a number of messages from lifeboat supporters.

But an RNLI spokesperson told the Free Press: “We are sorry to hear Mr Staveley and his family are upset that he is having to retire from his operational role at the lifeboat station. The RNLI has a standard retirement age of 65 for shore crew, the role held by Mr Staveley, so he has already been allowed to carry on volunteering well past this age.

“The volunteer management team at the lifeboat station have had discussions with Mr Staveley about the fact he would need to retire, and he has been offered alternative non-operational positions at the lifeboat station, such as a visits officer role.

“We recognise that Mr Staveley has served Bridlington RNLI as a volunteer for many years and if possible would like him to remain at the lifeboat station in a non-operational capacity.”

The dispute is the latest controversy to hit the RNLI along the Yorkshire coast in recent months.

Scarborough’s coxswain Tom Clark was sacked in April for leading what the organisation called an ‘unauthorised training exercise’.

The Whitby station made national headlines after crew members Ben Laws and Joe Winspear were stood down in early May in a row over inappropriate mugs.

Bridlington’s coxswain Stuart Tibbett also stood down to spend more time with his family.