Photo: Illustrative image for the 'MY NEWHAVEN MEMORIES' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'MY NEWHAVEN MEMORIES' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'MY NEWHAVEN MEMORIES' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'MY NEWHAVEN MEMORIES' page

The 1980's and 90's

By Jonathan Holden

Some (especially Lifeboat crew members from the 80's and early 90's) may remember me.  I was the small lad from Birmingham, who was always in and around the Lifeboat Station in the school holidays, usually shadowing Len Patten.

My parents owned a caravan on Rushey Hill Caravan Park and I have many fond memories of Newhaven during the 1980's and 1990's. Most of my time when I was there was spent around the harbour. I have always had a love of all things nautical, especially the RNLI, so I was thrilled to become good friends with Len as it allowed me to get up close to lots of different Lifeboats.  I used to enjoy the summer afternoons helping round the Station, cleaning the brasses, and polishing the paintwork etc etc.
I remember helping Len, Paddy and Rob (Lens son), clean and antifoul the hull of the Louis Marchesi at Cantells Yard.  This was the first time that I had a trip on a Lifeboat, albeit a short one from the Station to Cantells, although it was memorable as the bridge had to be opened for us, and it was different to go through it rather than over it or under it.
When the Keith Anderson came along things got really exciting. I was lucky enough to go out with the crew on many Sunday morning exercises over the years, with Len and also when Mike Beech became Coxswain.
Other memories are of my Dad driving us down to the west beach car park during the evenings. On the way down we would get fish & chips from the chippy that was next to the Police Station and sit in the car eating whilst watching either the Valencay or Villandry go out, then about 20-30 minutes later the Senlac come in, or vice versa.  One day I got talking to one of the men who used to be in the harbour control lookout during the evenings, I'm sure his name was Norman and he allowed me into the control lookout to watch the ferry enter the harbour. He also let me press the button that switched on the breakwater lighthouse.
In 1989 my brother & I were lucky enough to buy a brand new Hardy Navigator from Russell Simpson and we spent many happy hours over the next couple of years, fishing near the Portobello Buoy, and generally zipping around between Newhaven and Brighton.
The last time I visited Newhaven was in 2006, and I was quite shocked at the changes around the riverside area.  I hope to visit again in the not too distant future, and show my children where I used to have some of my best times when I was young. Hope you enjoy my memories.

This page was added by Richard Beckett on 31/01/2010.

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