West Cumberland Lions Club.

It is with great sadness that West Cumberland Lions Club reports the death of Lion Ken Russell.

Ken moved to Workington in 1979 to take up a post with the Coastguard and subsequently became heavily involved in West Cumberland Lions Club.

As a teenager, he took up Royal Navy training at HMS Ganges in Felixstowe. He went on to serve in the Navy for 25 years, including as an instructor at the base where he had trained. At the age of 32, he was the youngest Petty Officer in the country. After retiring from the Navy at 40, Ken joined the Coastguard. He served first at Holyhead in Anglesey before moving to Workington. There he was section officer in charge of the coast from Barrow right up the Solway until his retirement at the age of 60.

Through the years he worked on many and varied rescue and recovery missions, including being called upon to assist across the border following the Lockerbie air disaster.

He even stepped in to help in a voluntary capacity after the 2009 floods in Workington.

Introduced by a contact in the coastguard, he became involved with West Cumberland Lions and gave 32 years of dedicated service to the club’s charitable work. He was club president in 1990-91, 1998-99 and 2010-11.

He had also served as secretary, only stepping back from the post in June last year, and for a long time co-ordinated and served on the club’s Christmas grotto at Dunmail Park.

In 1996 he was made an MBE for his services to the coastguard and local causes, about which his partner Wendy said he was thrilled.

Keith Miller, the current Lions Club President, said: “He was a loyal friend and a hardworking member. He was always one you could rely on. Whenever there was something going on, he’d always be there. Keith was well known and well-liked throughout the district. He’s going to be a big miss to the club, particularly with the grotto.”