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First RNLI lifeguard to be awarded Queen’s New Year’s Honour

Lifeguards News Release

A Poole and Bournemouth lifeguard for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is among those recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours announced today (Friday 29 December).

Chris Lewis


Chris Lewis

Chris Lewis is one of the longest serving lifeguards in the UK, having dedicated 52 years of voluntary lifesaving to the community of Poole and Bournemouth as part of the RLSS and RNLI. Chris has performed hundreds of rescues, and thousands of lifeguard patrols. Today Chris Lewis, who is still saving lives at 67, has been recognised with an MBE.

On receiving the news of his award, Chris said ‘I’m amazed, it’s amazing to hear someone from the RNLI has put me forward for this award. I’ve been lifeguarding since I was 16 with the RNLI and RLSS and it’s been a great incentive to keep myself fit.’

Chris has been a champion and advocate for beach safety in Dorset and internationally. Chris’s passion for lifeguarding began when he enrolled with St John’s Ambulance at 15, and providing first aid at numerous swimming events. Since then, Chris has demonstrated a lifetime of achievement and numerous examples of courageous acts.

RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier said: 'The RNLI depends on the commitment, skill and courage of its volunteers, staff and fundraisers – and those that have been named in this year’s New Year Honours epitomise those qualities. I’m delighted that these wonderful and well-deserving people have been recognised.'

Notes to editors:

The attached picture shows:

- Chris Lewis (credit RNLI)

For more information please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or

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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland