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Lifeboats champion saluted

PUBLISHED: 10:40 20 May 2010 | UPDATED: 10:13 12 August 2010

HONOUR: David Crowden and former Mayor Douglas Auld

HONOUR: David Crowden and former Mayor Douglas Auld

A GRANDFATHER who has been collecting money for the lifeboat service for 50 years has been presented with an award by the mayor. David Crowden, 67, of Eastbury Lane, Petts Wood, was given an engraved shield by outgoing Mayor Douglas Auld at a surprise c

A GRANDFATHER who has been collecting money for the lifeboat service for 50 years has been presented with an award by the mayor.

David Crowden, 67, of Eastbury Lane, Petts Wood, was given an engraved shield by outgoing Mayor Douglas Auld at a surprise ceremony at The Mayor's Parlour, in Bromley Civic Centre, on Monday. It was one of Mr Auld's last public engagements as mayor of Bromley.

Mr Crowden began collecting money for the RNLI in Bourne Vale, Hayes, when he was 17 and has collected for the lifeboats every week since.

A semi-retired salesman, he said: "It is the kind of thing you do but you do not expect to be thanked for. The other committee members told me we were going to give a presentation to the Mayor, but when we arrived and I saw my daughters and granddaughter I knew something was up."

His wife, Valerie, daughters Natalie and Andrea and nine-month-old granddaughter Ella attended the award ceremony, together with Jenny Green, senior fundraiser for South-east RNLI, and members of the RNLI committee.

As well as collecting in Bourne Vale, one of the longest residential streets in the borough, Mr Crowden is an active member of the district committee, responsible for legacies left to the RNLI.

Chris Sutcliffe, RNLI organiser for Bromley, West Wickham and Hayes, said: "This man eats and sleeps lifeboats. He is a very energetic collector."

Mr Crowden became hooked on the RNLI after seeing a lifeboat crew in action on the beach at at Selsey Bill, Sussex. When he was 17 he was invited to help the organisation collect money at a Bromley Football Club match, back in 1960. He soon took over the Bourne Vale patch and never looked back.

He said: "I have seen people grow up and move on. There are some faces I still remember from when they were children."

tim.dickens@archant.co.uk

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