Memorial unveiled for lifeboat volunteer Ian

Seated on the memorial bench, from left, are Ian's mother Bridget Halvorsen and his wife Val Leask, with retired coxswain Hewitt Clark in the middle. Behind are the current crewmen. Photo: Davie Gardner.

A MEMORIAL bench for much loved and sadly missed former Lerwick Lifeboat crew member Ian Leask was unveiled at the weekend.

The bench, paid for and arranged by his lifeboat crew colleagues rather than out of RNLI funds, was built and installed with the help and cooperation of Ocean Kinetics, DITT and Lerwick Port Authority.


Ian died of cancer in February last year at the age of 61, having been part of the lifeboat team for 27 years since joining in 1989.

The bench overlooking Lerwick's small boat harbour, installed as a memorial for late lifeboat volunteer Ian Leask. Photo: Davie Gardner.

A short and well-attended ceremony on Saturday afternoon saw tribute speeches from local operations manager Malcolm Craigie and retired coxswain Hewitt Clark.

Afterwards Ian’s sister Pat Leask said her brother, a quite, unassuming and highly respected character, “would not have believed that the boys would have done this for him” and she doesn’t think they will “ever realise what this means to us”.

“Ian was pretty quiet, pretty shy, but I don’t think he realised what an impression he left on everybody,” she told BBC Radio Shetland.

“It was very touching when we found out it was just the boys that had paid for all this themselves, and then the Ocean Kinetics boys helping them. It’s just unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable, and we want to thank them all.”

Ian Leask pictured in Lerwick Harbour back in 2013.

Ian served as a crew member, second mechanic and then deputy launching authority until his death almost 18 months ago. He was awarded a bronze medal for his part in the rescue of the crew of the Green Lily off Bressay in 1997.

Lifeboat volunteer Marcus Thomason said the crew spoke amongst themselves and thought the memorial would be a “brilliant idea” to remember Ian as “a valued member of the crew and the community”, adding that “everybody thought the world of him”.

In addition to his lifeboat duties Ian, who worked as a yard operator for Streamline for nearly 20 years, was a keen photographer who contributed countless pictures of boats passing through Shetland’s waters over the years – many of which featured on the pages of Shetland News and other local publications.