Fisherman John Clark has retired from the Anstruther Lifeboat crew after 44 years of service as a volunteer.
‘Clerky’, as he is affectionately known by colleagues at the lifeboat shed, carried out his last official duty as lifeboats operations manager earlier this month when he saw his crew launch for a routine exercise.
John has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 and brings to a close a career that began in 1970 when he joined the crew of the Oakley Class lifeboat ‘The Doctors’.
Born in Cellardyke, John attended Waid Academy and worked for some years as a painter and decorator before becoming a fisherman and buying his own boat. With an already great knowledge of the waters around the East Neuk it was a natural progression for him to join the volunteer lifeboat crew at Anstruther.
During his service he was a crew member and assistant mechanic, second coxswain for 13 years and finally taking charge as coxswain in 1994, a position he retained for five years until the age of 55, the then mandatory retirement age for operational boat crew.
John “came ashore” in 1999 and took on the role of ‘deputy launching authority’. He would be one of the decision makers tasked with responding to requests from the coastguard to launch the Anstruther Lifeboats.
His many years at sea, and knowledge of the area and how it is effected by bad weather, made him the perfect choice for making often very difficult decisions to launch the lifeboats.
In 2008, John was appointed Anstruther Lifeboat operations manager, overseeing the entire search and rescue unit, and in 2010, his commitment to serving his community was recognised when he won the ‘Local Hero Award’.
John and his wife Edith, herself a staunch supporter of the RNLI, plan to take a well earned rest and will celebrate John’s retirement with a cruise on the Panama canal.
John now hands over responsibility for the day to day running of the Anstruther Lifeboat Station to retired coxswain John Murray MBE.