MEMBERS of Teignmouth lifeboat crew turned out to mark the retirement of one of south Devon’s most distinguished RNLI volunteers.

The volunteer crew were among lifeboats from Exmouth and Dartmouth celebrating the event marking the retirement of Torbay RNLI Coxswain Mark Criddle; Teignmouth’s lifeboat sailed across the Bay to join Mark’s friends and crew to surprise him on his return from his last exercise as Coxswain to Brixham lifeboat station.

The event was a ‘fitting tribute’ to Mark’s long and dedicated service.

He retired after 17 years as Coxswain and 35 years RNLI service.

Having stepped aside from managerial duties, he remains a member of the voluntary team.

His career has been marked with numerous awards for his bravery and exceptional service.

In addition to the RNLI Silver Medal for Gallantry, awarded for leading the rescue of stranded crew off the ‘Ice Prince’ in 2008, Mark received an OBE in 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to Maritime Safety, the RNLI Long Service Medal, the Pride of Britain award and the Institution’s Bronze Medal Jason Stride becomes the new Head Coxswain.

Meanwhile in Teignmouth, the team’s own Stormy Stan is completing a mile each day along Teignmouth seafront raising money for the RNLI.

A Teignmouth RNLI spokesman said: ‘You can help him raise vital funds to help save lives at seas by following the link to the fundraising page – if you see Stormy Stan be sure to say hello and give him a wave.’