TRIBUTES have been paid to an RNLI hero who was with the service for more than 30 years.

Andrew "Andy" MacQueen, a dedicated member of the lifeboat service for over half his life, died on Sunday, August 14, aged 62. He had been suffering with cancer.

His death came just three months after he married his wife, Joy. He also leaves three children from a previous marriage, Courtney, Scott and Hadleigh.

Andy was part of the RNLI crew in Newhaven, joining the volunteer service at 17 after spending time in the Sea Cadets.

He went on to work and volunteer for the lifeboat service on and off for around 34 years, including a period of working full time as a lifeboat mechanic.

His brother Jim said: “He was a hero to everyone that knew him. He never spoke or boasted about it, he was very quiet about it.

The Argus: Andrew first joined the RNLI when he was 17Andrew first joined the RNLI when he was 17 (Image: Jim Macqueen)

“He led quite a quiet life, but he was always around the water. We have said to his daughter that your dad is going out with a bang. It’s going to be an incredible send off.”

Andy, who was also briefly in the fire brigade, was described as deeply involved in the lifeboat service, whether as a mechanic, a member of the boat’s crew, or as part of fundraising efforts.

He was involved in countless rescues, one of the biggest being part of the crew that rescued those aboard the Athina B when its engines failed off the coast of Shoreham in January 1980. All those on board were evacuated before the boat ran aground on Brighton beach, causing national headlines.

Newhaven RNLI will pay tribute to Andy as part of his funeral tomorrow.

The funeral procession will leave his home near Newhaven Quay at 10.50am and a lifeboat will accompany it at Newhaven West Beach.

Andy will be given a guard of honour from lifeboat crew after the procession through Newhaven town centre.

The Argus: Andrew was described as being 'always around the water'Andrew was described as being 'always around the water' (Image: Andrew Macqueen)

Phil Corsi, area lifesaving manager for the RNLI, said: “Andy and I were in the Sea Cadets together in the ‘70s.

“He was a keen and pro-active member of the lifeboat station and at one time was in charge of the lifeboats on a daily basis.

“He was always a part of the community and helped out with fundraising events.”