Royal honour for the volunteers at Poole RNLI Lifeboat Station
Four stalwarts from Poole Lifeboat station received an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, every summer; the Queen hosts three garden parties at Buckingham Palace as a way of rewarding and recognising public service.
Volunteer Coxswain Jonathan Clark and his wife Anne-Marie Clark, who is the volunteer Lifeboat station press officer, were nominated by the HM Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, Mr Angus Campbell in recognition of Jonathan’s service to the community; they both attended the garden party on Thursday May 19.
Lifeboat Operation Manager Rod Brown and his wife Carole Brown, who is the Lifeboat station treasurer, both volunteers’ roles were nominated by the RNLI, in recognition of their continued commitment, they attended the garden party on Tuesday May 24.
For the many years, both couples have played an integral role in the day to day running of Poole lifeboat station, no mean feat as Poole continues to be one of the busiest coastal lifeboat stations in the RNLI and this was noted by HRH the Duke of Kent who spoke with Jonathan about the operational station in Poole.
Anne-Marie Clark, the volunteer press officer at the station for the past 18 years said:
‘It was a lovely occasion, we felt very special as it was the Queens 90th birthday year. I always say for Jonathan being a lifeboatman is a vocation, as his wife, I support him 110% and that’s why I got involved doing the media, it takes a huge part of our life, in fact I would say it is most of our life and I think Rod and Carole would agree. Though it is a privilege to be able to help others; we are a special breed and to be recognised like this was perfect and something for us to share and look back on’.
‘It was very ‘British’, reminding us that we are part of the ‘Royal National Lifeboat Institution’, we also met some fellow RNLI volunteers from around the country and Eire, whom we will stay in touch with. I did choose an orange dress not because I could be spotted in the crowd if we lost each other but because it matched Jon’s all-weather lifeboat’.
‘I remember my parents attending a Royal Garden Party when my dad was second Coxswain at Poole, a real honour. The sun shone for all of us and it’s fitting that we could share the accolade with our partners who not only support us but support the smooth running of the lifeboat station’.
Jonathan has been the volunteer Coxswain at Poole since 1998 and joined the crew officially in 1983, he works across the quay from the station at Sunseeker International and lives on West Quay Road, on call 24/7. Anne-Marie became the Lifeboat press Officer in 1998 and then married Jon ‘and the lifeboat’ in1999, she works fulltime for Dorset County Football association.
Rod and Carole Brown own and run Quay Sails, a family sail making business in the heart of Poole. Rod a local man and a keen yachtsman joined the station in 1993 as a volunteer DLA (deputy launching authority) and then became Lifeboat Operation Manger, a role that oversees the operation of the station and managing the personnel. Carole is heavily involved with the day to day running of the station initially supporting Rod, then she became the lifeboat treasurer and station administrator in 2001, Carole also played a huge role in the successful 150 years Lifeboat station celebration.
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.