Northern Ireland news

Tributes to former RNLI staff coxswain following sudden death

Tributes have been paid to Newcastle man, Francie Morgan, who was a former staff coxswain at the RNLI, following his sudden death
Marie Louise McConville

Tributes have been paid to a well-known Co Down man who was a former staff coxswain at the RNLI, following his sudden death.

Francie Morgan, who was a father-of-three, died suddenly on Monday.

Mr Morgan, who was in his sixties and lived in Newcastle, first started volunteering with the RNLI in 1989 on the shore crew before transferring on to the lifeboat in 1972.

He later became second coxswain in 1985 before attaining the senior position of station coxswain in 1987.

Lisa Ramsden, Newcastle lifeboat operations manager, said Mr Morgan "spoke the truth and from the heart".

"Everyone at Newcastle RNLI will miss Francie Morgan," she said.

"He had a long history with the station and even though he went on to be a staff Coxswain at the RNLI, covering stations far and wide in the Institution, he was no stranger to his local station, frequently calling in for a catch-up with his beloved dog, Murphy, in tow.

"He called things as he saw them, knowing that in life-boating you had to be precise and right, lives depended on it.

"Francie was passionate about the RNLI and the volunteers on the coast.

"He was extremely proud to have been Coxswain in Newcastle and was honoured to receive an MBE from the Queen for his services to the RNLI".

She added: "He had a magnificent presence, a booming voice and a hearty laugh. He is so much a part of the rich history of Newcastle lifeboat station and we will miss him. His legacy to the RNLI will be the lives that were saved on the many callouts he attended, and the many skills and attributes he passed on to so many lifeboat volunteers.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with his wife, children and family circle at this terribly sad time".

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