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Father and son Cromer lifeboatmen proud to serve the community

PUBLISHED: 17:22 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:22 01 September 2017

Father and son, Peter and Wes Stokes, who both crew the Cromer lifeboat, RNLI Lester. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Father and son, Peter and Wes Stokes, who both crew the Cromer lifeboat, RNLI Lester. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

There are many great father and son teams at work across the UK today - and for potentially saving lives, this pair must be one of the most important.

Father and son, Peter and Wes Stokes, who both crew the Cromer lifeboat, RNLI Lester. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Father and son, Peter and Wes Stokes, who both crew the Cromer lifeboat, RNLI Lester. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Peter and Wes Stokes are often on duty together on the Cromer RNLI lifeboat. On call 24 hours a day they get called out whatever the time of day or weather.

But when they are on duty family feelings go out the window. They’ve got a job to do and they do it.

Strangely, Wes, 28, was never that interested in following in his father’s footsteps when he was younger.

But now he’s a key member of the team and he really enjoys it.

His father has been with the crew for 11 years and, aged 55, has no plans to hang up his boots just yet.

Being a lifeboatman is a 24-hour job even if the number of shouts you are called out to, due to advances in technology, is decreasing. That means you can get called out just as easily at 2am as at a normal hour.

This year the pair, who both live in Cromer, have been called out on various ‘shouts’ together, but nothing exceptional.

Peter, who is also a fisherman with his own boat, said: “Before we moved to Norfolk neither of us had even been on a boat. My experience of boating was on the lake at Wicksteed Park in Northants.

“I did 21 years with the fire service and I was looking for a new challenge. I picked it up pretty quickly and I did like it. But as for seafaring history, no family member has had anything to do with the RNLI. We come from the Midlands, which is about as far from the sea as you can get. Luckily, neither of us gets seasick. The nearest I’ve come was in the simulator when I was training.”

Wes, who has been with the RNLI for four years, is also a full-time estate agent with Watsons in Cromer.

He said: “I had just had my first son and my dad said it was the right time to join the crew. We try and keep out of each other’s way on the boat. We are not father and son there, really - we’re there to do a job and just get on with it.”

Mr Stokes senior said: “You get called out to all kinds of incidents. We had to care for a young lad in Cromer who had broken his wrists and ankles, after falling off the prom, Then there was a ship on fire near Bacton - 18 firefighters were dropped on board the boat, and they were all seasick.”

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