Pioneering RNLI heroine Aileen Jones receives MBE
Medal-winning lifeboat crew member Aileen Jones has been recognised for her years of bravery and dedication by being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year.
As a volunteer, she has completely immersed herself in supporting every aspect of the station – one of the busiest in Wales – for the past 21 years.
In 2004 her bravery was recognised with the award of the RNLI bronze medal, presented by The Duke of Kent, for Aileen’s heroic actions in a particularly difficult rescue. Aileen and her crew went to assist a fishing vessel, Gower Pride, that had suffered engine failure in rough seas. They saved two lives that night.
Aileen says: 'The RNLI is something I’ve been involved in since I was about 12 or 13. My brother was on the crew and I would always follow him down to the station, and hang around. I was probably a right pain in the neck! I’ve always been involved in boats and I wanted to join the crew when I was 17 but there just weren’t women on the crew in those days. They weren’t seen as a good thing. It’s very different today. I eventually joined when I was 30 and, when I did, the crew were very supportive. In a way, it was better for me to join them as I’d had my family by then.'
Such was her passion for the RNLI that Aileen recruited her husband and her two children to become members of the crew. Her son is now following in her footsteps, training to become a lifeboat helm. As a family, they have given unstintingly to the community and to the RNLI, and Aileen is well known for dropping everything, at any time, to drive round the country to speak on behalf of the charity.
Aileen adds: “I wouldn’t have got this award without the support of the crew over all the years I’ve been at the station. The crew and my family. I couldn’t do it on my own.'
Notes to editors:
Photo credit: Ben Gilbert
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.