A STALWART member of Freshwater Independent Lifeboat has died after a long illness, aged 84.
Don Wright, known as ‘Mr Lifeboat’ in the village, was chairman of fundraisers, secretary and vice-chairman during 34 years of service.
He was born in Wednesbury in the West Midlands and on leaving school worked for Thompson Brothers (Bilston) Ltd in its sheet metal department.
He met his wife, Helene, who worked in a bank, in 1954 and they married three years later in Bilston.
Mr Wright continued to work in the sheet metal business before his family moved to the West Wight in 1978.
The couple owned Evans Stores, a grocer and greengrocer in Freshwater, until 1986, before moving to Edinburgh Road. The shop is now the Co-op Funeralcare.
Initially, Mr Wright was involved with the Coastguard Auxiliary before joining Freshwater Independent Lifeboat.
Three years ago, he and Helene moved to Lee-on-the-Solent to be closer to their family.
He is survived by his wife, daughter Heather, son-in-law David, grandchildren Gareth and Simon and great grandchildren Scarlett, Evan and Eslyn.
Members of Freshwater Independent Lifeboat and the Solent Sea Rescue Organisation were due to attend his funeral service today (Friday).
His ashes will be returned to the Island where they will be scattered at sea around The Needles.