An RNLI volunteer who joined when he was just 17 years old is stepping down after 20 years' service.

Olly Clarke had no boat experience when he started with Littlehampton RNLI in 2003, following in the footsteps of his great uncle George Barnes who was also a crew member in 1967.

Olly, from Angmering, who is now 37, is stepping down to spend more time with his family.

He said: “When I first joined Littlehampton RNLI my mum had to come down and sign the forms as I wasn’t deemed old enough to sign myself until I was 18 years old.

The Argus: From left, Mike McCartain, Nick White and Olly Clarke receiving his medalFrom left, Mike McCartain, Nick White and Olly Clarke receiving his medal (Image: RNLI/Beth Brooks)

“My first shout was to rescue a dog from the River Arun.

“I have loved every minute. Littlehampton RNLI is made up of some incredible men and women from so many different backgrounds. Everyone is here to represent the RNLI.

“For anyone considering volunteering at Littlehampton RNLI, I would say do it. I came in at 17 with no boat experience and I learnt so much.”

Olly was recently presented with his 20-year service medal by Littlehampton RNLI chairman Mike McCartain and lifeboat operations manager Nick White.

Nick said: “Olly has been a great asset to the station over the years, focused on the job and fun as well.

“It’s sad but right that he has the time that he needs to spend with his wife and daughter. We’ll miss him.”