RNLI Wells lifeboat crew member picks up MBE after 53 years of saving lives at sea
After 53 years of saving lives at sea Philip Eaglen, 71, of Wells, has been awarded his MBE medal.
Philip – who was awarded the MBE by The Lady Dannatt, The Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk, during a ceremony at the city's Norfolk Club – began volunteering for the RNLI at the age of 16 years old. At the time he worked in a shop on Wells Quay selling seaside souvenirs. The owner of the shop had two sons who worked there too, and were already volunteers with the RNLI.
One day the maroon rocket signals to muster the crew was fired and Philip was encouraged to join his colleagues on the mile run down the Beach Road to the lifeboat station. That was enough to capture Philip’s passion for helping save lives at sea, and he joined the RNLI a year later.
Through hard work and determination, Philip has achieved many roles during his time in service. He has been mechanic, launcher, tractor driver and head tractor driver.
He has covered other stations on a temporary basis when there has been a need, including Harwich, Amble, Seahouses and Skegness.
Once, when he was covering at Seahouses Lifeboat Station, he was called out on a shout to take the fire service across the water to Holy Island to put out a chimney fire.
Philip has put out his own share of fires as he was also a retained fire fighter in Wells for many years; wanting to help people is who he is.
On one occasion, Philip and his firefighting colleagues were returning from a shout, when he was alerted to the lifeboat being launched. The fire engine chased down the Beach Road and dropped Philip off at the lifeboat house so that he could assist with the call; he rushed from one emergency to another!
Philip has served under five different Coxwains during his 53 years so far; David Cox, Tony Jordan, Graham Walker, Alan Frary and the current Nicky King.
He is the longest serving crew member of RNLI Wells and will continue his excellent and loyal service up until the arrival of the Duke of Edinburgh, the new Shannon Lifeboat arriving in late Autumn 2022.
On asking Philip what will he miss about being a crew member with RNLI Wells, he said quite simply, "the people".