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Obituary: John Batchelor – founding crew member of Mudeford RNLI

“HERO” and “legend” are two of the terms used to describe founding Mudeford RNLI crew member and long-serving helmsman John Batchelor.

As well as his extensive stint helping save lives at sea, John, who died on 22nd March, is remembered as a local fisherman who ran a fresh fish stall on the village quay.

Mudeford lifeboat station’s flag flew at half-mast in honour of its former helmsman as tributes poured in from the local community.

John Batchelor
John Batchelor

Having served on the crew alongside John for over 40 years, Ian Parker remembered his dedication to training and inspiring new volunteers.

He was also greatly instrumental in fundraising for the building of the current base and purchasing a new lifeboat.

“His outgoing personality and humour bonded the whole station together, making it somewhere you wanted to be a part of,” Ian said.

“John was also a great fundraiser for the station. He produced a booklet, All About Fish, and came up with the idea of buying a brick to raise money for the build of the lifeboat station and to help fund the Atlantic 21 lifeboat for Mudeford.

“Although this is a very sad time for us all, our love for John and his humour made it a privilege to have known and worked with him. Our thoughts are with [his wife] Val and his family.”

As well as his long service to the RNLI and selling his and others’ catches at Mudeford Quay, John is remembered as a familiar face in the community.

The flag flew at half-mast at the lifeboat station in his memory (picture: Ian Parker)
The flag flew at half-mast at the lifeboat station in his memory (picture: Ian Parker)

Many shared memories of his appearances as Father Christmas for community events.

One person commenting on Mudeford RNLI’s Facebook page wrote: “Sad day. RIP John Batchelor, an RNLI hero and a Mudeford legend!

“His impact was not only local, I live 60 miles away and have always admired him. Best wishes to everyone affected.”

Another wrote: “A huge part of Mudeford past, he will be sadly missed.”

John had been a member of the Roeshot Hill Allotment Association (RHAA) for many years, including a stint as its chairman.

His devotion of both time and funds was credited with helping secure its Green Flag award, which recognises well-managed parks and green spaces.

A tribute from the RHAA on its Facebook page said: “He will be sadly missed by all who knew him, his friendly smile and handy gardening tips.”

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