Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Appledore RNLI pays tribute to ‘father figure’

PUBLISHED: 15:14 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 15:14 09 April 2014

Appledore RNLI has paid tribute to its 'father figure' Bill Gibson, who died suddenly on March 30.

Appledore RNLI has paid tribute to its 'father figure' Bill Gibson, who died suddenly on March 30.

Archant

Appledore RNLI’s president of 10 years passed away suddenly last month as tributes from crew members admire his support and enthusiasm.

APPLEDORE RNLI has paid tribute to a ‘father figure’ following the death of its president of 10 years, and financial benefactor, Bill Gibson.

Bill, who died suddenly aged 75 on March 30 at his home near Bristol, with his family around him, has been supporting the RNLI financially since 1973.

Members of Appledore RNLI, where Bill had served as president since 2004, said the station had become his second family.

In 1988, the GC Family Trust, of which Bill was a member, was instrumental in providing Appledore RNLI with its 47ft Tyne class all-weather lifeboat George Gibson, which served until 2010.

The Gibson family also provided the current Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Glanely, which arrived at the station in 2012.

Members of the crew, both past and present, have sent their condolences to his wife Jill, saying Bill’s enthusiasm for the station was matched ‘only by his generosity of spirit’.

Martin Cox, Appledore coxswain, said: “I have known Bill since 1988 when the George Gibson arrived at station.

“At that time my father was coxswain and he and Bill became good friends, with Bill showing great interest in all the crew and the goings-on at the station.

“Over the years Bill and Jill’s attention to the crew and station continued and when I took over as coxswain in 2005 I knew I could count on Bill’s support and on-going friendship.

“His regular visits and social events were welcomed by the crew and their families alike. He will be very sadly missed by all of us, and always remembered.”

Bill liked nothing more than getting behind the wheel of the lifeboat, and even at the age of 75 he would be beaming like a schoolboy when he got on one of the boats.

He was last in Appledore with the RNLI only a week or so before his death, where he played a full part in the annual crew dinner and presentation evening.

John Pavitt, Appledore RNLI chairman, said Bill’s death had ‘left an enormous hole’.

“He was always there with his finger on the pulse of what mattered. He had so many friends and contacts and always put in the right word for the RNLI in the right places,” he said.

Wendy Dale, Appledore RNLI operations manager, said Bill’s delight in being president of the station was evident in the many times he visited it.

“The more involved he could become, the better he liked it,” she said.

“He was committed to the work of the RNLI and his family visits in the summer were the highlight of our calendar. There is no-one who can take his place.”

Owen Atkinson, mechanic and second coxswain, said Bill was a ‘true advocate and leader, a passionate supporter of the station’.

He said: “He approached all tasks, both within the guild and management groups with passion and commitment. His shoes will be extremely difficult to fill.”

Speaking on behalf of the crew, past and present, Appledore’s previous coxswain Mike Bowden summed up the station’s feelings: “He always had time for anyone, and if you could not get on with Bill, you could not get on with anyone. He was second to none.”

 Details of the funeral arrangements can be obtained from Appledore Lifeboat Station on 01237 473969.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

Nine members of the same Barnstaple family have cut off their hair for charity.

Read more

Maurice Corry MSP was given a tour of Brynsworthy Environment Centre after seeing one of North Devon’s Council’s ‘impressive’ recycling trucks while on holiday.

Read more

There is currently heavy traffic on the A388 near Langtree after a collision this morning (Thursday).

Read more
Yesterday, 18:12

Route 39 principal Jordan Kelly says ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report was overshadowed by one decision made over GCSE exams, as free school had lodges complaint about ‘aggresive’ inspectors.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:28

Be Our Guest and enter an amazing competition for the chance to win hundreds of pounds of tickets to see shows at The Queens Theatre in Barnstaple

Read more
Yesterday, 09:21

Wanderlust Life, started by Croyde’s Georgie Roberts, has opened a brand new shop in Ilfracombe.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00

RMB Chivenor personnel have been running 16.64 miles each day to raise money for North Devon Hospice and The Royal Marines Charity

Read more
Tue, 18:36

Westacott Road has now reopened following police investigation work.

Read more
Tue, 17:09

The Queen’s Theatre will host Bill Kenwright’s Blood Brothers in April 2018

Read more
Tue, 17:08

A cafe, skate park and performance plaza are among ideas proposed to remodel Pilton Park in Barnstaple if the River Yeo is diverted

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications