Leon Pretorius, who faithfully served time as a crewman, coxswain, deputy station commander and Station Commander of Station 33, Witsand, passed away this morning.He leaves his wife Hanli, 13 year old daughter Anja and seven year old son, Troi.“Leon was presented with the International Maritime Organisation Certificates of Commendation in 2012, as well as the SASAR Meritorious Award (2013) in recognition of his bravery in rescuing four men from the yacht Gulliver. This is testament to his character. That rescue, in appalling conditions, far off-shore, in the dark of night, was an amazing feat of bravery from the three Witsand volunteers on the rescue boat Queen Payne,” said NSRI CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson.“Leon loved nothing more than being out on a boat fishing … or responding to help others on his home waters,” said Cleeve.“He was a dedicated Sea Rescue crewman, a very good coxswain and was passionate about his family and fishing. Leon loved NSRI and helping others. He is going to be sorely missed by all of us,” said Mark Hughes NSRI Operations Director.'The twinkle in his eye and that naughty laugh were part and parcel of a strong and brave man who would do absolutely anything for the people around him. A true hero who held the name of NSRI high. Leon and Attie are as close as brothers and I can't think of the one without thinking of the other. Attie, Hanli, Anja and Troi - our thoughts and our prayers are with you and all the crew at Station 33 Witsand. Our hearts are broken,” said NSRI Director Meriel Bartlett.Leon joined Sea Rescue on 19 October 2006 and was made a coxswain, Class 3, in March 2012, he was long serving Witsand deputy station commander and recently served as Station Commander.Our thoughts are with Leon’s family, friends and the Witsand volunteers.These pictures are available for download on Sea Rescue's Flickr page.
Leon with the EPIRB and liferaft of the yacht Gulliver.
Leon will be remembered for his kindness, bravery and winning smile.
Attie Gunter, Leon Pretorius and Quentin Denier in front of Queenie Paine.