22 May 2024

Hundreds celebrate life of ‘caring gentle giant’

By Terry Bearpark

TEARS were shed, hugs exchanged and memories shared as hundreds of residents, family, friends and members of the emergency services joined together to pay their respects to a Withernsea lifeboatman who tragically lost his life recently.

Steve Medcalf, self-employed builder and a long-time member of Withernsea RNLI, died last week after a fire at his home that saw him rushed to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. His two pet dogs died in the fire, which was caused by an electrical fault.

On Sunday morning a large crowd gathered for a minute’s applause to show their love and respect to a much-loved member of the community.

Past and present crew members of Withernsea Lifeboat were joined by members of Patrington and Withernsea Fire and Rescue, HM Coastguard, Humberside Police, Humber Rescue and past and present members of RNLI Humber who all wished to show their support to the family. Everyone had a memory to share of Steve, who had been a member of the crew since 1998 and was recently appointed as lifeboat operations manager, a role he took on with great enthusiasm.

Before the minute’s applause, deputy launch authority Dave Penson spoke about Steve’s commitment not only to the RNLI but to the community. The lifeboat crew’s pagers then sounded to start the applause, which ended on the sound of the station klaxon.

Steve’s family, including his brother Andy, daughter Hannah and son James, were obviously very moved by the occasion but were equally proud of the respect shown by everyone.

A post on the Withernsea RNLI Facebook page said: “We as a station would like to say a collective thank you to all who came out and braved the cold in honour of one of our own.

“Everyone turning up to celebrate his life shows how loved he was, and still is, to always be remembered by many.

“Special thanks to Paul Whitehead for supplying refreshments – he is a great supporter of the RNLI and has had many charity motorbike nights for the station at his Castle Cafe in Withernsea.

“Also, a big thank you to the RNLI fundraisers who joined us this morning.

“As a station we are grateful for Steve and everything he put into his roles over the years. He will always be remembered as the caring gentle giant he was and we will continue his great work ethic and make him proud.

“Fair winds and following seas, Steve.”

Steve’s funeral will be held on Thursday, January 12. More details will follow in the coming weeks.