Funeral takes place of Diane Lamberton, Whitstable RNLI fundraising Chair.

Lifeboats News Release

The funeral took place on Tuesday (31 January) at Barham Crematorium of Diane Lamberton, Chair of Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station fundraising committee.

Floral tributes to Diane Lamberton.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Floral tributes from the family for the funeral of Diane Lamberton, Chairman of the fund-raising at Whitstable Lifeboat Station held at Barham on Tuesday. Picture: RNLI Whitstable

Diane collapsed at the lifeboat station two weeks ago whilst working in the station shop with husband Larry. She had just celebrated her 81st birthday.

Around 200 members of her family, friends and lifeboat community packed the chapel to hear Dr Terry Stefani, the station'ss casualty care coordinator, deliver a eulogy to Diane on behalf of her family.

He said: 'Diane was born into the well known and respected Foreman family, one of those Whitstable families whose roots go back centuries and are intimately linked to our community and the sea, the second of three children to parents Vic and Vi, some four years after her sister Marge, and before the arrival of her brother Dave.

'She attended the Westmeads and Endowed schools before leaving to work at a bakers in Swalecliffe and later moved to Griffey’s, the paint and decorators suppliers in the High Street. She met her future husband Larry on her 21st birthday and after 4 years of courtship they eventually married in 1957, later moving into what has remained their marital home in Westmeads Rd ever since.

'Andrew, their son, was born in 1958 and Di became a full time mum until around 1968 when she became an agricultural worker before joining Larry at Ross Fish and then later Quayfish on Whitstable Harbour until their joint retirement in 2002.

“The family involvement with the Whitstable lifeboat came from its very outset when the station opened in 1963. Larry and Diane’s brother David were part of the original crew both serving later as helmsmen and then Honorary Secretary of the station”.

'Diane became part of the fundraising branch from its outset and in 1986 she became the chair, a position she held until her untimely death.

'This remarkable group have over the years raised well over a million pounds for the RNLI , and as an example back in 2001 alone they raised over £45,000 and have been consistently amongst the highest fundraising branches in the country.

'In recognition of all her efforts Di received in 1992 a letter of thanks from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and subsequently the bronze, silver and gold RNLI badge for all her superb effort.

'As a fundraiser she was totally committed and driven, as a friend warm, welcoming, loyal and with great integrity, as a wife she was, to quote Larry, “the best”, as a mum "all you could ever hope for “, as a sister and as a grandma - warm, loving, caring and always there for you, always eager to have a chat and gossip but a nightmare to get off the phone, when cheerio would take at least five minutes.'

'She was for so many people the face of Whitstable lifeboat station turning up at innumerable charity events to collect any funds raised or collecting and emptying the collection tins and so much more. She was not somebody seeking the personal limelight and was much happier in the background, beavering away unconditionally and the sort of person we can but admire and respect and if you had asked Di “How and where would you wish to die?", "Suddenly, without warning, at the boathouse" would have been high on her list of answers.'

Notes to editors

Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station was established in 1963 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and is one of 237 lifeboat stations around the shores of the UK and Ireland.

The volunteer crew provide a maritime search and rescue service for the Kent coast. They cover the area between the Kingsferry Bridge on the Swale, in the west, around the south-eastern side of Sheppey and along the coast through Whitstable and Herne Bay to Reculver in the east and outwards into the Thames Estuary.

The station is equipped with an Atlantic 85 lifeboat named Lewisco, purchased through a bequest of a Mrs Lewis of London who passed away in 2006.

She is what is known as a Rigid Inflatable Boat, the boat’s rigid hull being topped by an inflatable sponson. She carries a crew of four people.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Davey, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Whitstable Lifeboat Station.
    07741 012004/
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Members of the crew provide a guard of honour at the funeral of Diane Lamberton.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Members of the crew provide a Guard of Honour for the funeral of Diane Lamberton, Chairman of the fund-raising at Whitstable Lifeboat Station held at Barham on Tuesday. Picture: RNLI Whitstable
Mourners at the funeral of Diane Lamberton.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Mouners gather at Barham for the funeral of Diane Lamberton, Chairman of the fund-raising at Whitstable Lifeboat Station. Picture: RNLI Whitstable

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.