Tributes paid to man whom Portsmouth's RNLI lifeboat was named after
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Nearly two decades of Brian's life were dedicated to fundraising for the charity.
His association with the RNLI started after his retirement in 2004 as a fundraising volunteer at Bromley West Wickham and Hayes Fundraising Branch. After two years he had become chairman of the branch, a position he held for seven years. He had also been an RNLI governor. His passion for the organisation was so deep that, rather than asking for gifts on his birthday or at Christmas, he would encourage friends and family to donate to the RNLI instead.
Together with his wife of 45 years, Marilyn, he funded a D-class lifeboat which carried his name. Brian's Pride served for 11 years in Portsmouth before it was retired in 2020, saving 26 lives and aiding 250 people in its 341 launches. Mrs Bass said that it ‘meant an awful lot’ to Brian to have a lifeboat in his name. Brian's Pride's replacement, a D-class vessel named The Dennis Faro after another RNLI hero, was fundraised and donated to generously by Mr Bass.
The crew at Portsmouth Lifeboat Station flew the station's flag at half-mast in respect and observed a minute of silence alongside Mrs Bass on October 7. He leaves a lasting legacy at the station, which will continue long into the future.
Neil Maxwell, RNLI helm at the station, said that Brian and Marilyn were ‘part of the station's family’. He described the active role they played in the life of Brian's Pride, with Mr Bass passionately following its career and even lending a hand with its cleaning on Sundays.
Neil also said: ‘As the crew says goodbye to Brian and joins Marilyn in mourning his loss, we trust that his spirit will rest easy knowing what an impact his generous gifts made. Not just to the people who are still alive today because of it, but also the many volunteering crew who could train and conduct rescues because of Brian’s and Marilyn’s acts of philanthropy.’
Mrs Bass' involvement in the charity was encouraged by her husband, who told her she could give water safety talks due to her talent for public speaking and history as a teacher. Although at first she was apprehensive due to a lack of knowledge, Brian encouraged her to learn, and she went on to conduct RNLI water safety education visits for nearly two decades. She said: ‘Brian had always come with me. He would collect donations and help me, and we worked as a team.’