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Tributes for highly respected lifeboat volunteer

Photographer and lifeboat volunteer Ian Leask who has died at the weekend - Photo: Scott Goudie

WARM tributes have been paid to Lerwick Lifeboat volunteer and photographer Ian Leask, who has died of cancer at the age of 61.

Ian was a frequent contributor of photos of the many boats that passed through Shetland’s waters over the years, while he was also involved with the lifeboat crew for more than 25 years.

Having first become involved with the RNLI in the late 1980s, Ian served as second mechanic on the Lerwick lifeboat from 2004 to 2014, when he stepped aside for health reasons.

Ian, who passed away on Sunday following a two-year illness, received a bronze medal along with the rest of the lifeboat crew for the part he played in rescuing crew members from the Green Lily fishing boat in November 1997.

Lerwick RNLI operations manager Malcolm Craigie said Ian had been well respected by his lifeboat colleagues and would be sorely missed.

Leask pictured at Lerwick Harbour back in 2013.
“I served with Ian on the boat,” he said, “and a better volunteer you couldn’t ask for. He was well thought of through the whole crew, there was nobody in the crew that didn’t get on with Ian, and we wish we had more people like him coming forwards.

“He’s been actively involved in the station as much as he could, a very, very good volunteer, and he is going to be very much missed by everybody.

“He did a lot of work for us in various photographic ways. There are some photos at the station here of rescues, all attributed to Ian’s photography, and he’s done well with that. It’s going to be a sad miss.”

Lerwick lifeboat cox Bruce Leask said Ian had been a “dedicated and conscientious” member of the crew. Even in ill health, he took on the role of depute launching authority, one he held until he died.

“Ian was very well liked and respected by all the crew and he will be sorely missed by us all. Ian never had a bad word to say about anyone and got on with everyone.”

Ian had also worked as a yard operator for Streamline Shipping since joining the company in 1998.

Its Lerwick depot manager Mike Davies said Ian would be remembered as a “great guy” and a hard worker.

“It’s sad days,” he said. “All the staff here are a bit deflated today, the majority have been here as long term employees. He was a good lad, always turned up for work – it needed something serious to keep him away – a good guy.

“He’ll be greatly missed by all the staff at Streamline, and our thoughts are with his family at this time.” 

Ian was also a reliable contributor of countless photos of boats to this website. Everyone at Shetland News wishes to pass on our condolences to his family.

Irish commercial fishing website The Skipper also used many of Ian’s “wonderful and outstanding photographs of fishing boats around Shetland” and they said he would be “missed by all here as a friend and a gentleman to work with”.

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