Oban RNLI bid fond farewell to valued member

Dr Colin Wilson

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Oban life boat team wished fair winds and following seas to Dr Colin Wilson last week when he retired after 30 years as a volunteer crew member.

It was his love of the sea that drew Colin to sign up with Oban RNLI in 1990 and since doing so he has become a dedicated crew member and an integral part of the station’s family, contributing to many call outs, training exercises and fundraising events.

When asked what he will miss most, Colin said: ‘I will miss working as part of a really great crew and team.

‘I have shared in both the joy of many successes and in the sadness surrounding some less happy events, providing care and support wherever possible.’

It would appear that 30 years of serving one of Scotland’s busiest all-weather lifeboats has resulted in some astonishing statistics, too. Colin has attended a total of 660 call-outs. His presence on call-outs alone has seen him spend more than 1,100 hours at sea, travel 12,668 miles and burn 159,891 litres of fuel. That’s excluding the many exercises and delivery trips he has also participated in.

The mileage Colin has clocked up while responding to his pager is equivalent to travelling, by sea, from Oban to Sydney via Cape Horn. Or in simpler terms, half way around the world.

In addition to the time he has given the station, Colin’s 35 years experience as a local GP and time served as a senior partner of the Lorn Medical Centre has seen his voluntary role extend further within the RNLI.

He has contributed as a lifeboat medical adviser and regional medical adviser for Scotland, as well as serving on the charity’s medical committee.

Colin’s medical knowledge and expertise in both diving medicine and treating divers with decompression sickness has proved invaluable and his colleagues will be forever grateful for his service and the knowledge he has shared with them all.

Finlo Cottier, a deputy coxswain and crew member of Oban lifeboat, who has served alongside Colin since 2001 said: ‘It’s always reassuring when you go to sea with Colin among the crew, he has a special blend of knowledge, wisdom and humour.’

Fellow crew member Ian Henry also reflected on Colin’s time afloat.

‘Colin has been an absolute stalwart and aside from being a mentor, font of knowledge, medical advisor, and medicinal coffee prescriber, he has first and foremost been a friend, he said.

Colin passed on his thanks to fellow crew members past and present, for great memories of working in a fantastic team.

‘I also salute all those who support the RNLI throughout the country in the many ways they do, helping those in trouble at sea,’ he added.

‘I hope to continue my association with Oban Lifeboat by volunteering in a different capacity.’

In turn Oban RNLI thanked Colin for his commitment and dedication over the years.

‘His presence at sea will be missed, but his place in our lifeboat family remains. We all wish him the very best for his well earned time on dry land,’ said a spokesperson.