Hastings lifeboatman and life-long resident John Scollay to be remembered at special celebration

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The life of John Scollay, lifeboatman, Winkle Club Member and life-long resident of Hastings, will be remembered this Friday (1st March) at a special celebration in the RNLI Lifeboat house on The Stade.

John, who passed away earlier this month, was a well-known and much-loved member of the Hastings community.

He was born at the Buchanan Hospital in April 1958 and attended both Sandown and Priory Road schools in the town.

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His first jobs were as a Saturday boy in his father’s butcher’s shop, and he later worked in the Angling Centre in The Old Town.

After school he initially worked at Buss Foods in Dury Lane.

However, he became a familiar face to many hundreds of customers when he took over the running of Scollay’s shop on The Ridge after his father became ill in the late 1980’s.

Outside of work John’s sporting interests included playing football from early age, both in the road and on a pitch, before going on to become a referee and physio for local teams.

In later years golf became more of a passion. He was also a long-standing and active member of Hastings Winkle Club, serving on the committee, organising events such as the Crazy Golf competition and overseeing the raffle prizes at the Club’s annual dinner.

John had been a Hastings RNLI Lifeboat volunteer for nearly twenty-five years. Initially working as launch crew on the beach, he went on to become a tractor driver and eventually Head Launcher.

Over the years he became one of the most experienced and respected members of the Hastings lifeboat team and was still on active service at the time of his death.

A spokesperson said: “John had been at the very heart of the lifeboat family for a generation and will be greatly missed.”

Observer photographer Sid Saunders said: “John was a really good friend.”

Richard Stevens, Vice Chairman of the Winkle Club, said: “John was a highly regarded Winkler of longstanding. He was presented with a silver winkle two years ago for outstanding service to the Winkle Club. He was generous in every way to the Winkle Club which he loved. It is an understatement to say that he will be very much missed by not only the Winkle Club but by our community as a whole.”

People on the Lifeboat station’s Facebook page said John will be remembered for his hard work and his sense of fun. He was described as a brave and dedicated man.

A celebration of John’s life will be held at the Lifeboat Station this Friday 1st March, to which all are welcome to attend.

Winkle Club members will assemble on Winkle Island at 12 noon when John’s coffin will pass on its way to the Lifeboat Station, where a guard of honour will escort him into the boathouse.

The celebration will begin at 12.30pm, before John leaves the boathouse for the last time, and journeys up to the crematorium for a family service at 2pm.

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