RNLI helmsman honoured after 1,000 emergency launches

Stan Todd has become the first RNLI helmsman in London to reach the milestone

A veteran RNLI helmsman has been singled out for a special mention after becoming the first in the capital to respond to 1,000 emergency call-outs.

Stan Todd, 55, has worked for the lifeboat charity since 1980 and relocated from Brighton to Tower RNLI when the latter was founded in 2001.

Nicknamed ‘Stormy Stan’ for his ability to helm a lifeboat in the roughest of conditions, he has rescued 295 people and saved 47 lives.

During his 1,000 launches, the former soldier has helped drowning swimmers, sinking sailing yachts and children drifting in rubber dinghies.

And despite more than 34 years of active service, he has said that he still gets the same adrenaline rush every time the emergency bell rings:

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“It’s healthy to feel fear,” Stan explains. “If you don’t feel fear you shouldn’t be doing this because you will become complacent.

“It’s not only yourself you are looking after. You’ve also got the crew and the casualty’s life in your hands. Fear is healthy. It keeps your senses sharp.”

Stan was presented with a bravery award in 1986 for his part in saving three people from a stricken yacht during Hurricane Charley.

After his lifeboat capsized three times outside Brighton Harbour, Stan and fellow crewmember Roger Cohen swam 200m to tow the yacht’s life raft to safety.

He was not among the seven RNLI volunteers recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, but we wouldn’t be surprised if there was a gong in the pipeline for Stormy Stan.


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