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Five decades of dedicated service recognised by MBE for RNLI fundraiser

Lifeboats News Release

Long-serving supporter and fundraiser Stephen Wood has been recognised for his dedication and hard work for the RNLI by being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year for services to Maritime Safety.

​​A dedicated ambassador for the RNLI, Stephen has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the RNLI since 1964. Despite not having a seafaring background, Stephen has recruited countless supporters for the RNLI, attracted brilliant spokespeople, introduced numerous influential people and solicited donations. His passion for the charity and his deep-felt admiration of the bravery and skill of the volunteer crew members are almost tangible.

Stephen was a founder member of the Leeds Under 30’s Branch, a group of young businessmen in Leeds who arranged innovative RNLI fundraising events, which enjoyed tremendous success. In particular, Stephen’s forté was organising Country House Opera Events which gave unprecedented access to events in stately homes for hundreds of people.

In 1999 Stephen co-founded the Leeds Business Branch where he was appointed Vice President.
From organising literary lunches to persuading famous authors to sign books to be auctioned for the RNLI, Stephen has taken the lead with numerous inspirational ideas and his vast experience and networks have proved to be a huge asset to the Branch.

On being awarded his MBE Stephen said ‘I feel this is a serious privilege and has enhanced my life. I have the highest regard for the crews that go out to sea and help preserve life.’

With his generosity, selflessness and his deep-felt admiration for the RNLI, Stephen has been a phenomenal supporter and the RNLI is honoured by Stephen’s altruistic commitment to the charity.

Notes to editors

  • Photo credit: RNLI Jon Stokes

For more information please contact the RNLI Press Office on tel: 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland