Tributes to 'kind and loving' Coastwatch serviceman who died on duty

The last photo taken of Tony Rode. He is with his dog, Poppy.

The last photo taken of Tony Rode. - Credit: Sally Rode

A widow has paid tribute to her husband who died while on active duty for Caister Coastwatch.

Tony Rode, a dedicated member of the coast watch died suddenly while on duty on July 26. He was 74-years-old.

Mr Rode made the 100-mile round trip from his home in Mundford to Caister Coastwatch station every Saturday to watch out for and help anyone in trouble on the sea or shore. 

Although he suffered from the degenerative illness, Ankylosing Spondylitis, for 53 years, he never let the disease define him.

Often in debilitating pain, Tony would play a full and active role in whatever he undertook.

Many people did not know he had the illness. 

Tony joined Coastwatch seven years ago and made many friends among his fellow watchkeepers. He saw his service as giving something back to Caister where he spent many holidays. 

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Tony’s admiration for the Caister Lifeboat began when he was a child. The crew held a special launch to scatter his ashes at sea on October 23. 

Caister Coastwatch mounted a guard of honour as the boat launched in front of family and friends. 

Reflecting Tony’s love of cars, his youngest son, Samuel, 28, organised a road run and display of modified cars and bikes to the lifeboat station on the day the ashes were scattered.

Tony's son, Sam, watching the memorial service on Caister beach.

Tony's son, Sam, watching the memorial service on Caister beach. - Credit: Sally Rode

Tony’s widow, Sally, 70, said: “Tony was a kind and loving family man.

"As well as Coastwatch and the lifeboat, he liked walking his Spaniel, Poppy, on the east coast beaches.  

"He was always willing to help others.

"We thank the people who did their utmost to help Tony after he collapsed.”

Caister Coastwatch station manager, Frank Lappin said that Mr Rode will be missed "very much".

Mr Lappin added: "Tony was a very proactive member of the team.

"He was a bit of a character and had a wry sense of humour.

"He was very dedicated and holds the record for the longest distance travelled to the watch."

Mr Lappin added that the memorial service for Mr Rode was the largest of its kind to his knowledge.

In tribute to his interests Tony’s family continue to raise funds to support Coastwatch and Caister lifeboat. 

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