Obituary - Sheringham ex-lifeboat coxswain Brian Pegg
PUBLISHED: 11:00 16 February 2013
Brian Pegg was a lifeboatman who steered a steadfast course - devoted to saving lives and serving the Salvation Army.
An amiable, avuncular figure he was best-known in a variety of uniforms in his native Sheringham - on the fire engine, lifeboat or leading the “Sally Army” band in the busy weekend streets.
He died, aged 81, after suffering ill health in recent years which took him out of he public arena.
But the man who lived a stone’s throw from the beach was for decades part of the bedrock of local life.
Born in Sheringham he began work as a 14-year-old in a fish and chip shop, and showed skills as a footballer, joining a Norfolk Youth side on a tour to Holland. It led to a 40-year soccer career as a right half for the town team, but also a spell for arch-rivals Cromer. At 40 he was still playing for Sheringham Wednesday and turned out for the Salvation Army band team, putting in a 90 minute shift until he was 62.
After a National Service spell with the Royal Army Service Corps army fire service, he returned to the town to become a local retained fireman for 14 years.
It was a task he combined with a career as a crab fisherman, and later crewing the lifeboat; like so many others, following in the footsteps of his father.
But unlike the many hard-drinking fishermen around him Mr Pegg was a non-swearing tee-totaller. He was known, in a town renowned for its nicknames of fisherfolk, as “Lemonader” through his drink of choice.
His lifeboat career saw him join as a helper in 1948, the crew proper in 1950, become mechanic in 1965, second coxswain in 1989 and coxswain mechanic from 1985 until his retirement in 1989 on the regulation 58th birthday.
During his service the boat launched 153 times and saved 93 lives. Even when he retired his love of the sea could not be broken. He delivered lifeboats for the RNLI, including Ireland and up the Thames.
The church road was another path trodden by his father before him, and saw him as the only Salvationist at the helm of a lifeboat at time of retirement
Young Brian joined the citadel band at age of 10, when many members had gone to war, and became its bandmaster for almost a decade after a thorough training of 30 years as deputy.
The corps featured on national radio, Songs of Praise in 1963, recorded a video for Top of the Pops, played and sang at the Albert Hall in 1980 and did five performances at Butlins - two of these with Mr Pegg as bandmaster - plus dozens of weekends visiting other churches around the country.
A feature of these weekends was Brian’s mix of musical talent and comedy - including a finale playing an adapted lamp stand in the dark with its light flickering on and off as the notes got higher.
This musical talent crossed over to supporting the carnival, with Brian, his Sousaphone and the band in fancy dress entertaining the crowds before the procession began.
Another legacy of the carnival was Brian and his brother Keith winning the pram race year after year, seeing off numerous young challengers. Only twice in 20 years did they not win. Once they set fire to the pram and on the second occasion were kidnapped by our local police and dropped a couple of miles from town.
His service to the lifeboat and town were recognised with a BEM in 1989. It was only a series of mini strokes that put an end to his fishing in his boat Heather Joy, resplendent in lifeboat colours.
In the last few years dementia restricted Mr Pegg but did not stop him playing his cornet, including when the band came to play to him when he moved to Glendon House care home at Overstrand last year.
He leaves a wife Hazel, brother Keith, daughter Heather Joy, son Nigel, and seven grandchildren.
His funeral is on Saturday February 23 at the Sheringham Salvation Army citadel in Cremer Street at 11am. Donations to the Glendon House minibus appeal through Fox’s Funeral Service, Cromer.