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Lyme Regis: Tributes to RNLI stalwart John 'Mac' Sewell
One of Lyme Regis’ best-known characters and a stalwart supporter of the RNLI, “Mac” Sewell, has died at the age of 90.
Mac – real name John – clocked up 43 years of volunteer lifeboat service in the town.
And he was a familiar figure for many years in his role as Boathouse Superintendent, opening up and closing the Lyme lifeboat station every day of the week, 365 days a year, usually accompanied by his pet poodle, Meggie, who has been adopted by a Lyme Regis dog-lover.
Mac, who lived on The Cobb was presented with the RNLI vellum certificate of service on his 89th birthday, recording that he joined the lifeboat crew in 1967 and became shore crew in 1971 until 1991.
During his service the lifeboat rescued no fewer than 281 people.
Susan Lynall, Mac’s niece, said that her uncle was devoted to the lifeboat service and had moved to the Fairfield Residential Home for the last couple of years of his life. His wife Grace died four years ago.
Born in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, Mac moved to Lyme in about 1960.
He was a builder and later a van driver and had strong connections with the powerboat club, where he helped build the clubhouse foundations.
Jon Broome, a long-serving lifeboat crew member in Lyme Regis, said: “Mac was the sort of crew member who was simply always there.
“He was quiet, unassuming and thoroughly reliable.
“When he was no longer a full crew member he still wanted to be involved.
“He never wanted a pat on the back and was just glad to be part of the operation.
“Mac was just one of those gems who come along now and then and upon whom a volunteer operation like ours relies.
“When he became boathouse custodian he turned up every morning and every evening 365 days a year to open and shut the big doors, usually accompanied by his pet poodle.”