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First RNLI lifeguard to receive MBE among those honoured in New Year's Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers, staff and fundraisers for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution are among those recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours announced today (Friday 29 December).


Chris Lewis

Among them is Chris Lewis, the first RNLI lifeguard to be recognised with such an award, and one of the longest serving lifeguards in the UK. Chris, who is still saving lives at 67, has been awarded an MBE. He has given 52 years of lifesaving service to the community of Poole and Bournemouth both as a volunteer and as a professional lifeguard - performing hundreds of rescues and thousands of lifeguard patrols.

Humber lifeboat station Coxswain David Steenvoorden has been awarded an MBE. David has served as an RNLI crew member for over 30 years, starting as a volunteer at Cleethorpes Lifeboat Station back in 1987. He then joined the Humber crew three years later and has served there for over 26 years. He has received many awards for his role in a number of major rescues, the most significant of which, being a Bronze Medal for gallantry. This notable award was in recognition of his exemplary courage, determination and fine seamanship displayed when, on 30 July 1989, the lifeboat rescued five canoeists in the Humber Estuary. They then went on to assist the yacht Serenus in a storm, confused seas and driving rain.

David said: 'I am walking around two feet off the ground today - I am gobsmacked and overwhelmed. You just go about your business in you job and then this pops up and I am so proud.I always say that a Coxswain is only as good as their crew so this is real recognition for the whole of our crew.'

Humber Lifeboat Station was also the inspiration for a dedicated fundraiser who has been awarded a BEM. Richard Marriott is one of the most dedicated volunteer fundraisers within the charity - over 37 years he has raised close to £250,000. His passion for the RNLI was ignited when he first visited Humber Lifeboat Station. He was so impressed by the achievements of the lifeboat crew that he decided to do a sponsored slim. The satisfaction he got from his first fundraiser has never left him and he has worked tirelessly ever since.

David (Dai) Jenkins, from Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station, has been awarded an MBE. Dai is a truly remarkable RNLI volunteer who has dedicated 55 years to the charity as crew member, lifeboat operations manager, fundraiser and treasurer. He is being recognised for his commitment to the lifeboat station and the local community.

William Hopkins, President of Port Talbot Lifeboat Station, has been awarded an MBE for his services to the community, particularly maritime safety and children, in South Wales. William became President of Port Talbot Lifeboat Station in 1990, and has overseen the fundraising for, and arrival of, three new lifeboats.

RNLI supporter Thomas Burgess has also been recognised with an OBE for his services to charity, the RNLI and business. Mr Burgess contributed towards the D class inshore lifeboat at Cleethorpes RNLI lifeboat station, which has helped save lives along the North East Lincolnshire coastline since 2012.

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 pictures show:

- Chris Lewis (credit RNLI)

- David Steenvoorden (credit Nigel Millard)

- Richard Marriott (credit RNLI)

- Dai Jenkins (credit RNLI)

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

Nigel Millard

David Steenvoorden


Richard Marriott


Dai Jenkins

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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