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 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 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
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