He has taken a leading role in Sheringham’s lifeboat team for the past 21 years. 

But now Phil Hawes has stood down as chairman of the town’s RNLI.

Brian Farrow, the station’s operations manager, said Mr Hawes’ contribution since he took on the role in 2002 had been immense. 

Mr Farrow said: “On behalf of all of our colleagues in Sheringham RNLI may I say an enormous thank you to Phil Hawes for managing and developing the public face of Sheringham RNLI with such intuitive skill for the last 21 years. 

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“He brought ‘blue light’ understanding with him from his time with mountain rescue work which enabled him to be up to speed from day one. 

“We wish him well for the future.”

North Norfolk News: Peter Sampson, the new chairman of Sheringham's RNLI Lifeboat stationPeter Sampson, the new chairman of Sheringham's RNLI Lifeboat station (Image: christaylorphoto.co.uk)

Mr Hawes said his time at the station had been “nothing but a pleasure and a privilege”.

He said: “The people of Sheringham has a long and proud history of saving lives at sea. The current crew and branch volunteers are fantastic. 

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“They give tirelessly to the cause and I cannot thank or praise them enough. Success is a team effort.”

Dr Peter Sampson - who has been a GP in Sheringham since 1988 and has served as honorary medical advisor at the lifeboat station for the last 18 years - is taking over as chairman.

Now retired, he is a keen sailor and is familiar with the coastline and the challenges it presents.

He said: “I have a great love of the sea which was one of the reasons we moved to Sheringham from London where I had trained to be a doctor. 

“I look forward to my ongoing involvement with Sheringham RNLI as chairman and continuing the great work Phil has achieved over his 20 years of service.”