Norfolk museum volunteers are 'heritage heroes' in prestigious industry awards

Lifeboats News Release

A team of RNLI museum volunteers have been hailed as heritage heroes after receiving a prestigious award in an awards ceremony dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of the museums and heritage sector

The group of volunteers at the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum in Cromer, Norfolk, were named “Volunteers of the Year” in the national Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence awards, for their tireless efforts to promote the visitor attraction and bring history to life for its annual 45,000-plus visitors.

The accolade is awarded by industry body, The Museums and Heritage Show, which organises a major annual show for professionals working in the museum sector. Now celebrating its fourteenth year, the annual awards recognise the innovators and leaders of the UK and Europe’s diverse museums, galleries and visitor attractions.

The RNLI Henry Blogg Museum illustrates the history of Cromer's lifeboats and explores the legacy of the eponymous hero who, for 37 years, served as coxswain at Cromer RNLI and helped save 873 lives. The volunteers were nominated by Katie Smith, RNLI Heritage Engagement Manager.

Katie said: “During 2015, the Museum Manager needed a substantial amount of time off for personal reasons, which obviously had the potential to impact on the smooth running of the museum. However, our volunteer team went above and beyond in so many ways, becoming emergency key holders, managing the volunteer rota, running education sessions and the shop, supporting a temporary museum manager and enabling us to carry on with ‘business as usual’.

‘The commitment from the volunteers was remarkable and their efforts even helped us become the Trip Advisor number one ‘thing to do’ in Cromer and win Visit England’s ‘Best Told Story’ accolade for two years in a row.’

Four members of the wider volunteer team were presented with the award by comedian and TV personality Marcus Brigstocke in a ceremony in central London on 18 May. He said: ‘The RNLI’s group of volunteers more than stepped up to the plate and went the extra mile in difficult circumstances, so I’m delighted to present them with this award to recognise their commitment, enthusiasm and hard work.’

The award has wider implications for the RNLI, as it recognises the charity’s overall commitment to provide excellent visitor experience at its sites and recognises the achievements of the charity’s volunteers at a national level.

Victor Brett, Volunteer Shop Manager at the museum, said: ‘We may have taken on extra duties but we were happy to do so, as the entire team takes huge pride in what we do and in bringing the RNLI’s history to life. Winning the award was a nice bonus and recognition of our team’s efforts.’

• The award for the volunteers at the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum coincides with an appeal for more volunteers to join the award winning team. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the museum at to discuss how you can help save lives at sea without getting wet! 

RNLI media contacts

• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
• James Oxley, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
0207 6207425 / 07786 668825
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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.

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