Plenty of fish in the sea! World's longest-serving lifeguard, 74, reveals how he met the love of his life on the job

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The world’s longest-serving lifeguard has revealed how he met his soulmate – and wife of 49 years – on the job. 

Chris Lewis, from Bournemouth, started working with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) at just 16 years old.

And after 58 years, he has not only win a Guinness World Record for his efforts, but a lasting marriage as well.

On Tuesday, the 74-year-old told Good Morning Britain how a chance meeting at work was love at first sight for him.

‘I had three years at teaching training college in Birmingham and came back to the local swimming pool,’ he told presenters.

Chris met his wife Elaine, who is a voluntary lifeguard, on the job and it was love at first sight

Chris met his wife Elaine, who is a voluntary lifeguard, on the job and it was love at first sight

‘And came out of the changing room – and there was Elaine at the far end.’

Elaine – who is also a volunteer lifeguard – added that the couple celebrated their anniversary just last week. 

When Richard Madeley quizzed Chris on what he could accomplish at his age, the lifeguard admitted that he could impressively swim 25m underwater and 25m on the surface in under 50 seconds.

Chris also said he can run 250m on the beach in under 40 seconds, but added that it is difficult due to a previous rugby injury.

He can also swim 400m in a whopping six minutes and 45 seconds – a requirement of the job. 

‘I enjoy lifeguarding, I enjoy being at the beach, it’s nice to have it but the main thing is actually doing it,’ he remarked.

‘For me, it was a case of I wasn’t well when I gave up teaching and it kept me fit.’

Chris however added that some people ‘don’t think’ when they go to the beach, recounting how he once saw a man in an inflatable holding a two-litre bottle of cider.

The couple celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary last Friday. Above: The couple on their wedding day

The couple celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary last Friday. Above: The couple on their wedding day 

‘The sea… it’s a strange environment,’ he said. ‘You think “what’s going on?” People just don’t think, they go to the beach and have fun.

‘Our aim is for people to come to the beach and go home alive, having had a good time.’

When asked about his most memorable rescue, the experienced lifeguard recalled saving three children at once – but admitted it would be ‘really difficult to know’ how many people he’s helped in total.

‘We had southeasterly winds in Bournemouth. One day I did my job really well, spoke to the public and beach hut and [told them] to keep well away from the groynes and this was before we used red and yellow flags,’ he said. 

‘I’m about 200m away and I can see this group of children who look to be getting closer.

‘So off I went and got down there and I overtook the mum who was [also] trying to get there.

‘Just as I got there, a wave picked this 16-year-old girl up and slapped her right into the end of the wooden groyne face on, blood all out of her nose.

‘[Her] brother, who was panicking at this point, was holding onto the groyne and had lots of little cuts all over.

‘And there was another brother who was drifting and panicking and I rescued three at once.

‘As I walked up the beach, the beach all stood up and they applauded, that’s the reason it sticks.’