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Rare double award for Little & Broad Haven RNLI fundraisers

Lifeboats News Release

Little & Broad Haven Fundraising Branch members Mary Whitewright and Ken Ainge have recently been notified that there lifelong service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is to be further recognised by the highest RNLI award of all.

Mary and Ken’s appointment as an Honorary Life Governor is to be confirmed at an awards ceremony in Swansea on Friday (30 September). The honour is the highest bestowed on non-crew volunteers by the Institution and it is incredibly rare for two people to be awarded it from the same RNLI fundraising branch at the same time.

Mary has given over 40 years’ service and was one of the founding members of the branch – then called the Ladies Guild - at Little & Broad Haven when it started back in 1975. She was firstly asked to raise money for a scanner for the crew which cost around £200, she was successful and managed to raise the entire amount over the single weekend. Ever since she has continued in the same vein.

Ken has totalled up an amazing 47 years as a branch member, starting way back in 1969 at Brierley Hill & Kingswinford, West Midlands, and moving to Little and Broad Haven in 2005. Ken’s first involvement and knowledge of the RNLI was being treasurer at Brierley Hill & Kingswinford and while he will admit he did not love this role, he loved everything the RNLI stood for and wanted to remain a part of the organisation.

When asked what has kept Mary going in her role as a member of a branch, which has raised over £513,000 since 1975, she said ‘I recognised that the RNLI is such an amazing institution and having the lifeboat as part of the community was such an honour I wanted to remain a part of it.’

‘When I found out I was receiving the award I was immensely proud. It is one of the biggest achievements I have managed in my personal life.’

Ken had the same feelings and also said that he was over the moon and never expect to receive this award.

Jen Abell, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager, said: ‘Being awarded an Honorary Life Governor award is a huge honour – the highest a fundraiser can be given – and means Ken and Mary are now granted life membership by the RNLI Board as recognition of exceptional service to the Institution. Few are more deserving than Ken and Mary and for branch at a small station like Little and Broad Haven to have raised more than half a million pounds for the charity since the 1970s is a remarkable achievement. They both have my full congratulations.’

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Matthew Ford, Little and Broad Haven Lifeboat Press Officer on 07478 637237 or email

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, Carrybridge 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.

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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