Lifeboat station stalwart remembered in school ceremony

Derek's widow, Vivienne George, left, with Jilly Peace, head of central services federation

Derek George's widow, Vivienne George, left, with Jilly Peace, head of central services at the school federation, at the opening of The Derek George Building at the Caister Infant and Junior Schools. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A "true son of Caister" who helped run the village's lifeboat has been honoured with a school block being named after him.

Derek George, who died in 2020 aged 82, was the secretary of Caister Lifeboat Station and had been a governor at Caister Infant School.

Derek George, secretary of Caister Lifeboat

Caister Lifeboat Station secretary Derek George - Credit: Archant

His legacy as a community stalwart will now live on in The Derek George Building, which houses a new Specialist Resource Base at Caister Infant and Junior Schools.

The Specialist Resource Base will serve key stage two children from across east Norfolk who are struggling in their home school settings and is part of a series of county-wide schooling improvements.

The unveiling of The Derek George building

The unveiling of The Derek George building - Credit: Denise Bradley

The building was unveiled by Norfolk County councillor Penny Carpenter, the mayor of Great Yarmouth Adrian Thompson and Mr George's widow Vivienne as other family members looked on proudly.

Mrs George said: "It is a great honour and we are all delighted as a family."

At the event was Paul Garrod, the chairman of Caister Lifeboat Station, who said: "He was a well loved and respected member of our community."

Mr Garrod added "the lifeboat was in his blood" as Mr George's great-grandfather Charles George had served as a crewmember.

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In his unveiling speech Mr Thompson said: "Derek was a true son of Caister.

"Derek was one of those people that every committee needs."

Ahead of the unveiling executive headteacher of Caister Primary Federation, Jonathan Rice, said: “Derek was a giant figure in this village and he is greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

“As well as his work with the lifeboat over decades, he was also a governor of the infant school and instrumental in bringing our two schools together, with all the benefits that has brought the children here.

"Without his vision, our federation of schools would not have happened.

The ceremony to name the Derek George building

The ceremony to name the Derek George building - Credit: Denise Bradley

“It’s a pleasure and an honour to be able to celebrate his memory in this way.”

Mrs Carpenter said the new resource base was a "fantastic" resource which would help children with special educational needs to "flourish".

The ceremony also saw Mr Garrod present a painting of the two current Caister lifeboats to the school.

Derek George's lifeboat station role

Derek George looking at the bust of Charles "Bonney" George his great grandfather in the lifeboat shed

Derek George looking at the bust of Charles "Bonney" George his great grandfather in the lifeboat shed - Credit: Colin Finch

He had joined the station in 1996, having been asked to do a “small job” by Harry Pascoe, a member of the original crew that saw Caister carry on after the station was closed in 1969.

It was a role Mr George fulfilled for the rest of his life, conducting lifeboat business until he was admitted to hospital a fortnight before he passed away in 2020.

The lifeboat was in his blood. His great grandfather Charles Bonney George was among the casualties of the Beauchamp lifeboat disaster in 1901.

At the age of 18 Mr George served his apprenticeship with The Advanced Tool and Machine Company in Great Yarmouth.

He landed a job at Laurence, Scott and Electromotors in Norwich, where he worked for 38 years until he retired, having become manufacturing manager under the ownership of MSI Defence Systems.