Richards Bay NSRI has had their farewell function for former-station commander Mark Hughes, as he is leaving their station to join Head Office in Cape Town. For the next year Mark will be commuting as his wife Bev will be staying in Richards Bay whilst their youngest daughter Amy completes her matric year. At the farewell ceremony Mark was presented with an album of his stations history including photographs, one of Rescue 19’s props, a jacket to keep him warm in the Cape and a LED torch to assist with the scrutinization of the stations that he will now inspect.
This is the dedication in the album that Mark was presented with:
To Sir (with love)…
It is with great sadness that we say good-by to you as a member of this station. You have stood by us during difficult times carrying us forward to the station that we are proud to be part of today. The only consolation that we have is that you are not leaving the organisation but are going to extend the effect that you have had on ours to all the other stations as well.
Your service record speaks for itself…31years as a crewman on our station during which you were elected as a station commander twice. In addition to your personal awards for your dedication to NSRI, you have lead us to being presented for various station awards. You also took on two enormous projects – firstly the building of our new rescue base, then the refit of The Spirit of Richards Bay.
It goes without saying that you will always be welcome at the Palace – room reserved, non smoking with a sea view.
We wish you Fair Winds and Following Seas….the crew of Station19
And here is Mike Patterson’s farewell speech:
MARK HUGHES FAREWELL
FROM STATION 19 RICHARDS BAY
IN 1978 A WELL KNOWN EMPANGENI FAMILY CONSISTING OF PARENTS KEN AND LYNN HUGHES, MARK AND HIS BROTHER ROB MADE THE DECISION TO OFFER THEIR SERVICES TO SEA RESCUE STATION NINETEEN.
MARK’S DAD KEN WAS A MOTOR MECHANIC AND WAS HAPPY TO ASSIST WITH THE MAINTENANCE OF OUR ANCIENT FORD F250 RESCUE VEHICLE.
MARK’S MOM LYNN OFFERED TO REPAIR RUST, REPAINT AND POLISH THE VEHICLES BODYWORK, AND KEEP OUR BASE IN SHAPE WHILE THE BOYS JOINED THE CREW, AS WE DID NOT PERMIT FEMALE CREW IN THOSE DAYS.
MARK AND HIS BROTHER ROB BECAME JUNIOR CREW AND WORKED LIKE SLAVES AS WAS EXPECTED OF JUNIOR CREW AT THE TIME.
THERE WERE SOME REWARDS IN THE FORM OF RIDES ON THE SIX METER ABERDARE WITH KELVIN THOMAS AT THE WHEEL, BUT ONLY THE TOUGH SURVIVED, SO MARK MUST HAVE ENJOYED IT.
MARK AND MOST OF THE JUNIORS WERE NOT TOO KEEN ON THE OLD HUBERT DAVIES WHICH DID A MAXIMUM SPEED OF NINE KNOTS AND ROLLED AT LEAST THIRTY DEGREES SO THEY CONCENTRATED ON THE MORE EXCITING CRAFT.
MARK COMPLTED HIS SCHOOLING IN EMPANGENI, HAD A SPELL IN THE ARMY DOING HIS MILITARY TRAINING AND WENT TO TECH IN DURBAN WHILE DOING HIS APPRENTICESHIP AT FELIXTON, BUT HE RETAINED HIS INTEREST IN SEA RESCUE AND VISITED THE BASE
WHENEVER HE COULD IN SPITE OF THE TIME SPENT AWAY FROM THE AREA.
THE SPIRIT OF SAFMARINE, PRIDE OF THE FLEET, WAS ON STATION FOR A WHILE BUT THE SIX METER ABERDARE WAS STILL THE FUN BOAT.
MARK HAD PREVIOUS BOATING EXPERIENCE ON THE SOUTH COAST WHERE HE HAD FISHED ALMOST “COMMERCIALLY” WITH HIS COUSIN BRUCE MCLAREN, SURF LAUNCHING A LARGE ACE CRAFT.
THIS EXPERIENCE CERTAINLY ATTRACTED HIM TO THE ABERDARE OUR SIX METER CRAFT AND HE WAS EQUALLY AT HOME ON THE ‘PETER COX” OUR 4 METER WHICH WE USED TO TRAIN OUR CREW TO SURF LAUNCH, AND THIS WAS MARKS GAME.
MARK WAS AT HOME ON THE FUN BOATS BUT HE DID CREW ON THE BIGGER CRAFT DURING SOME HAIR RAISING RESCUES BUT ONE OF OUR CLOSEST SHAVES WAS NOT ON A RESCUE BOAT AT ALL.
MARKS UNCLE ERIC MCLAREN HAD BUILT A FIFTY FOOT PLUS YACHT CALLED NANDI AND CONVINCED ME TO SKIPPER THEM TO DURBAN AFTER SEVERAL UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS.
ON THE RETURN TRIP WE HAD A GALE FORCE WESTERLY BEHIND US AND IN A RATHER LARGE BREAKING SEA OFF DURNFORD POINT WE WERE SURFING SOME REAL BIG WAVES, BUT DUE TO THE SIZE AND SLOWNESS OF THE YACHT WE WERE BROACHING BADLY.
THE BINNACLE AND HELM BROKE LOOSE AND WE TRIED TO SECURE IT WITH SHEETS BUT MARK AND KENNY COCHRANE HAD TO HOLD IT IN PLACE WHILE I STEERED THE CRAFT.
WITH KENNY AND MARK CHEERING AS EACH WAVE CRASHED OVER US, HIS UNCLE ERIC NOT SURE IF WE SHOULD ABANDON SHIP, ME TRYING TO RIGHT THE CRAFT WHICH WAS LYING ON ITS SIDE AS THE WAVE ROLLED UP THE KEEL AND OVER THE DECK, I GUESS
MARK REALISED THAT BIGGER BOATS COULD BE “FUN” TOO.
MARKS COUSIN ANGIE MCLAREN WAS ON BOARD AND I REMEMBER HER PLEADING FOR REASUARANCE THAT WE WOULD SURVIVE.
THIS IS POSSIBLY WHY SHE HAS DEDICATED SO MUCH OF HER TIME TO LOOKING AFTER OUR COLLECTION BOATS IN THE NORTH OF ZULULAND
WHEN MARK TOOK OVER FROM ME AS STATCOM IN THE MID NINETIES, HE WAS AS COMPETENT ON THE SPIRIT OF RICHARDS BAY AS HE HAD BEEN ON THE INSHORE RESCUE BOATS.
MARK LATER HANDED THE HELM TO HARVEY MOIR FOR A PERIOD UNTIL HARVEY LEFT FOR AUSTRALIA WHEN MARK ONCE AGAIN TOOK ON THE DUTIES OF STATCOM
I CAN RECALL MARKS DAD KEN COMPLAINING THAT MARK WOULD DRIVE HIS LANDROVER WITH THE WARNING LIGHTS ON THE DASHBOARD FLASHING AND WHEN THE MOTOR FINALLY
GAVE UP HE WOULD SAY “I THOUGHT THE GUAGES WERE FAULTY”
THIS MAY BE WHY MARK TOOK UP A CAREER IN INSTRUMENTATION AND I AM CERTAIN THAT HIS DAD WAS IMPRESSED AND PROUD OF THE MARK WE KNOW TODAY.
DISCIPLINED, CAPABLE, AND COMPETENT IN ALL SPHERES OF ENGINEERING AS PROVED BY THE MANNER IN WHICH HE HAS ENSURED THAT STATION NINETEEN IS HELD IN SUCH HIGH ESTEEM BY OTHER STATONS AND SEA RESCUE HEAD QUARTERS.
MARK GAVE UP AN UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNT OF HIS TIME TO ENSURE THAT THE CONTRACT WORK DURING THE REFIT ON THE SPIRIT OF RICHARDS BAY WAS OF A HIGH STANDARD.
HE HAS SPENT MANY HOURS IN THE ENGINE ROOM OF SPIRIT RECENTLY LOOKING TO IMPROVE THE SHAFT ALIGNMENT AND FIX THE TEETHING PROBLEMS AFTER THE REFIT.
WE WILL CERTAINLY BE HARD PRESSED TO KEEP UP THESE STANDARDS NOW THAT OUR ENGINEER HAS DEPARTED.
MARK HAS SOMEHOW MANAGED TO TAKE TIME FROM SEA RESCUE TO MARRY BEV IN THE MID EIGHTIES, HAVE TWO CHILDREN, MAINTAIN AND MODIFY HIS HOME, COMPETENTLY DO THE JOB HE WAS PAID TO DO AT TONGAAT HULETTS, FISH FROM HIS PADDLE SKI,
FLY FISH ON THE BAY, ASSIST HIS INLAWS AT THEIR FARM IN THE BERG AND MORE.
I GUESS IT IS POSSIBLE TO DO ALL THESE THINGS BUT TO DO ALL OF THEM SUCCESSFULLY TAKES PLANNING AND DEDICATION AND I BELIEVE IT IS THIS UNUSUAL ABILITY THAT “CAPE TOWN” HAVE SEEN IN MARK.
HIS NEW JOB WILL BE CHALLENGING BUT HIS TRACK RECORD AT OUR STATION IS MORE THAN ENOUGH TO ASSURE US THAT HE WILL SUCCEED, AS THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB.
THEIR GAIN WILL BE OUR LOSS BUT WE WILL DO OUR BEST TO MAINTAIN THE STANDARDS HE HAS SET.
AND WE KNOW THAT “BIG BROTHER WILL BE WATCHING” STATION NINETEEN MORE CLOSELY THAN OTHER STATIONS.
MARK WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST FOR YOUR NEW VENTURE.
AT LEAST YOU WILL BE PAID FOR DOING WHAT YOU PREVIOUSLY DID FOR FREE.