Obituary: Mike Foot – former Lymington lifeboatman
A FORMER Lymington lifeboatman has died at the age of 59 after a valiant battle against cancer during which he raised £3,000 for charity by organising a sponsored head shave for himself and friends.
Mike Foot had followed his father, also called Mike, into the RNLI where he served many years as a volunteer.
One of his most memorable tasks was to deliver a lifeboat with other crew all the way to Scotland, travelling up the west coast of the UK.
His father had also inspired him to become a diver, working with him in Lymington yacht harbour among other sites to recover items.
Mike also worked with his father on the QE2 cruise liner, carrying out repairs to the ship below the waterline.
Sister Vivien Pearson said: “Mike had a lot of jobs during his life but his final one was as a painter and decorator which our grandfather Reg had been.
"Mike gained a reputation for being really good at it. He had a big, loyal clientele. Mike had a lot of jobs in his life, but he was happiest being his own boss.”
Born to Mike and Heather Foot, he had three sisters: Vivien, Libby and Jacqueline, and a brother, Robert. He was one of the first pupils at the newly opened Lymington Junior School, and went on to Priestlands where he became a javelin throwing champion.
Mike was also an army cadet as a youngster and went into the services when he left school. But he was badly injured six months into his training and medically discharged.
Lymington born and bred, he loved the town but at one stage went to live in Northern Ireland after meeting a girl from there.
Sister Libby Cook said: “He became a taxi driver and managed to stray into the wrong part of Belfast during one journey. It was just at the end of the troubles and Mike was shot at.
"It really shocked him and when the relationship ended, he decided he’d be safer back in Lymington.”
Mike joined the crew of the Lymington ferry which his brother Robert also worked on. Mike had four children: Ross, Matthew, Kirsti and Shaunni from previous relationships, before marrying wife Liz in 2001 gaining three stepchildren: Katherine, Joe and Eleanor. He went on to be a grandfather of seven.
In his spare time Mike was a regular at the then-Ashley pub where he was a valued member of its pool and darts teams.
In February 2001, when he was a lorry driver, he was involved in a very bad accident during which he nearly lost his legs. Libby said: “He had to be cut out of the cab and was very badly injured, but he fought back and managed to overcome his injuries. "
More recently Mike undertook a fundraising head shave shortly after receiving his cancer diagnosis in 2019.
Libby said: “Like everything in his life, he met his illness head on and fought it very bravely. He was a very much a family man and packed so much into his life.”
Vivien added: “He was well known in Lymington and always liked a laugh and a joke with everyone. He was very much a fun person.”
Mike died at Oakhaven Hospice on 13th November and over 100 people attended his funeral.