This is an extra special year to be honoured as the Queen, who has been Patron of the RNLI since 1952, celebrates her 90th Birthday.
Aileen Jones has been awarded with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) along with: Martin Jaggs, Coxswain and Mechanic at Lytham St Annes lifeboat; Leeds fundraiser, Stephen Woods; Torbay Lifeboat Operations Manager and Chairman David Ham; Tom Clark, Coxswain at Scarborough Lifeboat Station and committed fundraiser, Hazel Haas. And BEM (British Empire Medal) recognition has been given to heritage volunteer Barry Cox and Skegness fundraiser April Grunnill.
Aileen Jones MBE for services to the RNLI - Porthcawl
Aileen Jones was the first female RNLI crew member to receive the charity’s Gallantry Medal for Bravery, one of the charity's first female helms and launching authorities, and the first female crew member at Porthcawl Lifeboat Station. As a volunteer, she has completely immersed herself in supporting every aspect of the RNLI and for over 21 years has been the heartbeat of the station and community. Her passion for the sea has been a lifetime in the making; she first applied to join the RNLI crew at 17 years old, and her infectious passion for the charity that saves lives at sea has seen her recruit her husband and her two children to also become members of the crew.
Martin Jaggs MBE for services to the RNLI - Lytham St Annes
Martin Jaggs, 49, has dedicated over half of his life to supporting the charity, fulfilling roles from coxswain and mechanic at Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station to fundraiser. For almost 30 years Martin has given up his days, evenings, nights and weekends to selflessly fundraise, train or lead a crew to rescue those in trouble at sea. But it is the roles that come without a title that have shown him to be an exceptional person. From behind the scenes, he has tirelessly supported fundraising throughout the North West of England and has been instrumental in growing the local branch's income from £18,000 a year to a steady £60,000. As a crew member and as coxswain, he has worked hard to ensure everyone feels welcomed, supported and part of the team at the station.
Stephen Wood MBE for services to Maritime Safety - Leeds
Dedicated and consistently generous supporter Stephen Wood has been raising funds for the charity for over five decades. Stephen was a founder member of the Leeds Under 30’s Branch, a group of young businesspeople in Leeds who arranged RNLI fundraising events of a kind that had never been undertaken in the area before, and a co-founder, and Vice-President, of the Leeds Business Branch. Although Stephen does not have strong connections with the sea, his passion and belief in the charity, his deep-felt admiration of the volunteer crew members, their bravery and their skill are really felt through his loyalty and selfless generosity.
David Ham MBE for services to Maritime Safety - Torbay
74 year old David Ham has been the Lifeboat Operations Manager at Torbay Lifeboat Station for eight years. This means he is responsible for launching the lifeboat, ensuring the crews’ safety and running the station on a day-to-day basis. Separately from his duties as the Operations Manager, David is the motivating force behind Torbay's fundraising. In January 2012, he found and motivated a crew to row a vintage lifeboat from Brixham to Torquay, calling at various harbours on the way, while their families pushed an inflatable inshore lifeboat round by road. In one day, through his painstaking organisation, this initiative raised £10,000, a great deal of publicity and a lot of goodwill.
Barry Cox BEM for voluntary services to RNLI Heritage - Poole
The RNLI has a rich history of almost 200 years and for the last 29 years Heritage Volunteer Barry Cox has been giving his time; helping to ensure historical records have been preserved. For a charity such as the RNLI this is invaluable not only to ensure the survival of records for the families of those brave men and women who have lost their lives at sea but also helping to encourage support and understanding of the charity’s work. Despite having no professional training, 84-year-old Barry took on the task of sorting hundreds of boxes of artefacts, documents and files which then formed the basis of the RNLI artefact library. The early records of the RNLI have recently been recognised by UNESCO, only possible due to Barry’s dedication to producing a professional archive.
April Grunnill BEM for charitable services - Skegness
For the past 22 years April Grunnill has been a key part of Skegness Lifeboat Station inspiring thousands of people to get involved and support the RNLI. April has shown real commitment to fundraising over these years taking a key role in engaging with the local community by organising the annual station open day and the charity ball, which raises in excess of £20k each year. She has also played a central role in raising money for a new Shannon Class Lifeboat that will arrive on station this year. Many people associated with the lifeboat and the wider community at Skegness feel that this state-of-the-art lifeboat, which will save lives and keep its crew safe for many years to come, would not have been affordable without April's generosity, energy and commitment.
Tom Clark MBE for services to the RNLI and to the BSAC Club in Scarborough – Scarborough
Tom Clark joined Scarborough RNLI 32 years ago and for the last 14 years has been the Coxswain. He has trained in all aspects of search-and-rescue work from navigation to boat handling, search-and-rescue patterns.
Hazel Haas MBE for services to wounded and injured service personnel and the RNLI – West Yorkshire
Another RNLI stalwart, Hazel Haas, has been recognised for her service to the RNLI. Hazel is a member of the Harrogate RNLI branch and has worked tirelessly to fundraise for the lifeboat crews and lifeguards she is so committed to. Her fundraising achievements have also been recognised through her work with the Rotary Club.
Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, said: ‘It is humbling to be part of an organisation with such dedicated and selfless individuals. I am delighted that they have all received such merited recognition for their efforts and I’m truly grateful to them all for giving their time, energy and knowledge and to their families for supporting them, to help save lives at sea.’