6 December 2023

New lifeboat station manager ‘excited’ for the future

by Sam Hawcroft

Darren Hickey has been officially appointed lifeboat operations manager at RNLI Withernsea.

Darren, who had been acting LOM since the death of his predecessor Steve Medcalf in December, joined RNLI Withernsea eight years ago as crew and has held many roles including helm and lifeboat training coordinator. In his new role he will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the station.

An RNLI Withernsea spokesman said: “Darren brings with him a wealth of experience having served as a petty officer in the Royal Navy, and his current role as maintenance manager at SSE gas storage in Aldbrough has given him fantastic leadership skills with a calm management style.”

Darren told the Gazette that it was not originally a role he had envisaged himself in for some years as Steve had been leading the station “in such a good direction”. However, after Steve’s death it was an easy decision to make and he vowed to carry on his good work.

He said: “Among Steve’s ambitions was to build closer ties with other local emergency services – police, fire and coastguard – which are beginning to come to fruition now, such as holding joint exercises.

“He also wanted to bring in more ‘young blood’ and encouraged more people to join, so now we have the luxury of having lots of people around and we’re able to attend more call-outs.”

Darren said he wanted to continue developing the “footprint” of the Withernsea station and expand its portfolio – and to that end, new press officer Tim Beckett is doing great work, he said.

Family is a “big thing” at Withernsea RNLI, Darren added, with numerous relatives being part of the station, not least Steve’s son James, who has recently joined as crew.

He added: “After 14-and-a-half years in the military you get an idea of how to manage people – but I’m just a figurehead. I’ve got a really great team beneath me.

“I know every manager will say this but I believe I have the best team in the RNLI. We have so much to be excited about and I am looking forward to leading this excellent group of volunteers.”