ABP coxswain honoured at Women of Achievement Awards

December 12, 2014

Above: Sue Hickson-Marsay (centre) receives the Overall Woman of Achievement Award from Katie Piper and founder member of the Women in Business Group, Karen Newton.

Associated British Ports’ (ABP) only female coxswain Sue Hickson-Marsay, was ‘shocked and surprised’ to receive not one, but two awards at the Women in Business Women of Achievement Awards, held in Hull recently.

The awards are organised to recognise the achievements of women from across Hull and the Humber in the areas of business and the voluntary and community sectors. Sue was awarded the ‘Women Breaking Boundaries’ award for her work in the marine department at ABP and was also presented with the Overall Woman of Achievement Award by guest speaker Katie Piper.

Sue was also named runner-up in the Voluntary and Community category.

Sue, who’s been working for ABP for 17 years, was also instrumental in establishing the Hornsea Inshore Lifeboat after the town’s Government-funded coastguard boat was removed.

“I never planned on a marine career,” said Sue. “But I began working at the Humber Offshore Training Association (HOTA) and loved it. I was also a coastguard for over 20 years.

“While working on Albert Dock with HOTA I would often see ABP’s pilot launches coming in and wanted to work on them. I managed to get a job as a deckhand and after a couple of years I was promoted to coxswain.

“It’s a job I thoroughly enjoy. It’s challenging, varied and I love being part of a close team and I get to spend time outdoors. I can’t imagine doing anything else. The only problem I’ve experienced is intense seasickness, but I learned to cope with it and it doesn’t affect me anymore.”

ABP Director Humber, John Fitzgerald admits he was really excited at the award lunch and is justifiably humbled by Sue’s achievements.

He said: “We are all so incredibly proud of Sue. Not just for what she does every day for us at ABP, but the incredible work she does for Hornsea Inshore rescue. We were all thrilled when she won the Women Breaking Boundaries award, but when it was announced she had also won the Overall Woman of Achievement Award well our table just erupted. It was a truly great moment.

“Many of our staff do incredible things and I am so pleased Sue has been recognised as a truly inspirational woman.”

Sue’s day job involves taking pilots out to ships needing to enter or exit the Humber Estuary, but her passion is the Hornsea Inshore Lifeboat, a charity she’s been running for 21 years. The lifeboat was purchased through fundraising and has been used for more than 200 inshore and flooding rescues.

Sue explains why the charity was needed: “When the coastguard boat was removed from Hornsea, many people felt it left a seaside resort and a fishing community hugely exposed. The nearest rescue vessels were over 25 minutes away by sea, which can make the difference between life and death in some situations.

“We campaigned hard and did lots of fundraising and finally managed to purchase a boat which has been crewed and managed by volunteers for over 20 years. We operate to the same standards as the RNLI and we work closely with them. We are also a Sea Safe Education Centre, a Royal Yachting Association training centre and we also offer sailing and VHF training.

“All of these additional activities bring in much-needed funds and help us keep the lifeboat going. It’s not always been easy, but I get a lot of support from family and friends. It’s the love of my life and I don’t do it for awards, I do it because I believe in it.”

If you’d like to find out more about the work of Hornsea Inshore Rescue visit: