Pilot boat coxswain Allen Stevens is retiring from the Falmouth Pilotage Service on Friday after 20 years working on the port’s pilot boats.

Allen said: “I will miss the work. It has been more a way of life rather than a job.”

Born in Mawnan Smith, 65-year-old Allen went to Penryn School before joining the Admiralty Research Establishment (ARE) at Helston, as an apprentice. The ARE was a small, specialised research and trials unit carrying out sensitive and often secret work for the Ministry of Defence.

Its main task was to provide research and development support of air launched underwater weapons to project authorities within the Ministry of Defence. Weapons were tested on the Falmouth range between Nare Point and Porthkerris Point with pinnaces from the RAF 1102 Marine Craft Unit acting a retrieval boats.

A large amount of work was carried out on torpedo technology.

Allen’s work with the MoD took him to the missile range at Aberporth in Wales, to Scotland and Barrow-in-Furness.

Following government defence cuts which closed his unit in 1993, Allen worked for himself for two years before joining Falmouth Pilotage Service in 1995.

In February 1996, in gale force conditions, Allen and his fellow coxswain Nigel Pascoe succeeded in getting pilot Gordon Kent onto the bulk carrier Hope, which was dragging anchor and in danger of going ashore in front of the Falmouth Hotel.

Allen and Nigel were awarded a framed letter of thanks from the Marine Society Thomas Gray Memorial Trust for their valiant efforts and seamanship. Gordon was awarded a silver medal for his outstanding seamanship.

Allen is a consummate professional, an extremely talented engineer and a highly experienced boat handler.

Around the port of Falmouth everyone who knows him holds him in very high regard.

He and his wife Trudy, who live in Mawnan Smith, have a son Ross, a director of Fugro Engineers B V, based in The Hague, and a daughter Catherine who is a teaching assistant.