TRIBUTES have been paid New Brighton lifeboat stalwart Phil Hockey who has died aged 83.
TRIBUTES have been paid to a key member of one of Wirral’s lifeboat stations who has died aged 83.
Phil Hockey MBE was the recipient in 2006 of one of the RNLI’s highest honours when he received the Gold Award for 52 years service.
He joined the RNLI in New Brighton as a volunteer crewman in 1954, later becoming a Deputy Launching Authority and then Honorary Secretary of the lifeboat station.
Close friend and chairman of New Brighton Lifeboat Station Frank Brereton said: “Phil was a giant of a man, very affable and someone who knew his job.”
Andy Clift, RNLI Divisional Inspector, North, said: “Phil was a wonderful man who encapsulated the spirit of the RNLI.
“He was committed to helping others and dedicated himself to New Brighton lifeboat station. There can be very few people who have served for so long and with such enthusiasm.”
When he received his award from the RNLI Mr Hockey was typically modest saying: “It's not for gallantry, more for good attendance and being in the right place for long enough.”
And delighted as he was with the award, he was particularly pleased that there were three generations of his family involved with New Brighton's RNLI station, with his son-in-law Neil, and grandson Adam, who had just joined as a probationary lifeboat crew member at 17.
Mr Hockey was part of the crew for the 100,000th rescue carried out by the RNLI – even though he was strictly too old – when a youngster had been swept out to sea.
Phil Hockey is survived by his wife of 55 years, Joy, and two daughters April and Jane.
His funeral is at 1.30pm on January 28 at St James In New Brighton.