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RNLI volunteer recognised in New Year's Honours list

Richard Spindler is made an MBE after risking his life numerous times to save others Photo: ITV News West Country

A man who's given half a century of voluntary service to the RNLI in Weston-super-Mare is among those who've been recognised in the New Year's Honours list.

Richard Spindler is made an MBE after risking his life numerous times to save others, including once swimming into a cave to rescue five people trapped by rising tides.

The 67-year-old became a member of Weston's lifeboats on his 17th birthday. After 50 years of tending to and serving on them he's become a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

Without the right people on the boat, backing me up. I might not be here.

It's a big team effort. Yes it's a great feeling when you come back and think 'without us, that person would not be alive today.

It's a brilliant feeling and that's why we do it.

– Richard Spindler

More than 200 lives were saved during Richard's 31 years at sea before he was forced to retire from the crew. He now helps with the launch operations.

There were eight launches in his first year - 53 this year.

As the crew's designated swimmer his most dangerous rescue came in 1978.

I had to swim to a cave at night in a gale to guide the boat in to rescue 3 boys and 2 coastguards.

I've got utter respect for the sea because it always tries to win and we try to make sure it doesn't win.

– Richard Spindler

Richard, who was nominated by RNLI colleague Donald Sutherland, has also been a scout master and swimming instructor in the town and heavily involved in fund-raising.

When he said he needed a quiet word I was worried something was wrong but I was absolutely overjoy to hear what it was he's getting. I could have cried.

– Charlotte Conroy, Operations Manager

The Weston RNLI operation was forced to leave its home on the old Birnbeck Pier for a temporary base on the seafront but money has been raised and a site identified for a permanent move in a couple of years. It's something Richard is determined to be a big part of.

They'll be dragging me away.

My fingernails will be stuck in the ground trying to stop them getting me out of the door. I'm still going to keep going, still helping the RNLI because they are the best charity in the world.

– Richard Spindler

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