Littlestone RNLI Guard of Honour Credit: RNLI/John Kenny

On Wednesday 27 March 2024, Littlestone RNLI crew members provided a Guard of Honour at Charing Crematorium to pay their respects to the late Darragh Cartmill, who sadly passed away on 6 March 2024 after a short but very courageous battle with leukaemia.

Darragh, known as Daz to his fellow crew members, was born in Portadown, Northern Ireland on the 17 April 1969 and spent his childhood in Derry, followed by a successful career as a chef in Belfast and more latterly Hythe. Daz had always been interested in the RNLI since his childhood in Ireland with his interest and passion for lifeboats being fired up during holiday visits to Dublin with his mum. Nicki and Darragh moved from Hythe to Greatstone so Daz could volunteer at Littlestone RNLI. He quickly became a valued member of the team, firstly as a shore crew member then launch vehicle driver, before joining the lifeboat crew. After working as a chef in Hythe, Daz joined the team at Rolfe’s ironmongers in New Romney; he loved the nature of his work and was a firm favourite with customers. He was a really kind, funny, selfless man who all his friends and family knew as a force of nature. He loved the RNLI and the RNLI loved him. He will be sorely missed by everyone he touched.

Members of the volunteer lifeboat crew stood together to pay their respects to Darragh as the funeral cortege passed Littlestone RNLI Lifeboat Station. An RNLI Guard of Honour assembled at the entrance of the Charing Crematorium as the 1938 Bedford MW military truck carrying his coffin arrived. Darragh’s friends and relatives gathered to carry the coffin dressed with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution flag and the Irish tricolour into the building.

During the service the funeral celebrant spoke about Darragh’s life, and family and friends talked in depth about his love for his family, his enduring love for Nicky and their children and grandchildren. Their move to Kent and Darrah’s subsequent volunteering with the RNLI had been an important and incredibly rewarding part of his life. Daz brought dedication and hard work to Littlestone Lifeboat Station in the years he volunteered with us.

On Thursday 28 March 2023, the volunteer lifeboat crew gathered at the station to carry out Darragh’s final wishes that his ashes be scattered at sea off Littlestone. Family, friends and lifeboat crew members gathered at the lifeboat station to pay respects once more. The volunteer lifeboat crew made up of Heather Crittenden, Dean Miller, Ron Thrall and Dave Kimber showed great professionalism in carrying Daz to his final resting place off the Littlestone coast. With the lifeboat flying the RNLI flag and the Irish tricolour from the stern, Heather Crittenden scattered his ashes at sea in line with his wishes. Challenging weather conditions required the shore crew to prepare for a net recovery of the charity lifeboat Jean McIvor, which was perfectly executed with the joint skills of tractor driver Spencer Rolfe and helm Dean Miller. The assembled crowd of friends and family gave the whole RNLI crew a round of applause as the ashes scattering was brought to a close

Littlestone RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Matt Crittenden said ‘Darragh was my dear friend as well as an irreplaceable crew member. The station will always be devoid of his attendance but full of the magic, cuddles and love he brought to us. We will all strive to be a bit like Daz. Missed is an understatement. Rest easy buddy, you will be missed by all of us and always in our thoughts.’

By Ed

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