‘Good friend and generous donor’

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Sheila Pigott and family

With sadness we record the death of one of our most generous donors at RNLI Rye Harbour, Sheila Pigott. Sheila and her late husband David made a considerable donation towards the funding of our new lifeboat and this Atlantic-85 craft is one of the fastest of the RNLI fleet.

David was a man with the sea in his veins. Before the second world war he had wanted to be a naval architect, but the national emergency had caused him to join the Royal Navy, where his duties saw him serve in the Arctic convoys, and later in motor torpedo boats.

His distinguished service was recognised not only by Great Britain but also by the presentation to him of a medal by the Russian government at their London embassy – and he made the trip to Moscow for the 50th anniversary of the Arctic convoys.

He always said, apparently, that if he won the lottery he would use the winnings to fund a lifeboat. When he fell seriously ill and was taken into a nursing home for what turned out to be his final two years, Sheila had the inspiration to contact the RNLI about supporting the acquisition of a lifeboat.

Sheila Pigott and Hello Herbie II

Hello Herbie II is perfect for service in the Rye Bay area. She has two onboard computer screens for radar and GPS tracking and a VHF direction-finder for helping to pinpoint any casualty. She carries four crew and has additional survivor space.

As may be imagined, Sheila was very dear to the hearts of all at Rye Harbour lifeboat station. It is worth remembering that without charitable donations, large and small, there would be no RNLI. Commenting after one of her visits to the station she reflected that her visits were always so uplifting.

She visited a number of times and on each occasion was struck by the camaraderie displayed by everyone, which she found exceptional. She was impressed too, in recent years, by the crew’s dedication to training in all weathers and was pleased to see that there were some forty volunteers keeping the station strong.

The power of the sea

Sheila loved her walking, driving and the sea. As a family with their three children, she and David spent many summer months visiting the seaside town of Whitstable where they had a holiday home.

Both parents taught the children about the power of the sea and the need to respect it. Sheila sailed their dinghy with James her youngest son. The children were taught to swim from an early age and to be competent when near or on the water. The children have such fond memories of all those hours spent in their favourite haunts.

Sheila will be sorely missed by all at RNLI Rye Harbour and our thoughts at this time are with her family. They are promising to maintain the family’s links with the RNLI and to visit Rye Harbour when this pandemic is over.

Image Credits: ktbruce .

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