RNLI stalwarts included in Queen's Birthday Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Three long-standing RNLI volunteers are among those recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced today.

Ron Cannon


Ron Cannon

Ron Cannon, an active RNLI volunteer for 53 years and former coxswain of Ramsgate lifeboat, has been awarded an MBE for his services to the charity that saves lives at sea.

The 71-year-old was a crewmember of Ramsgate RNLI (one of the busiest stations in Britain) for 37 years – and the coxswain for 25 of those. Ron, following family tradition, joined Ramsgate lifeboat crew in 1964, and was appointed the station’s coxswain/mechanic in 1976.

During his time at the helm, Ramsgate lifeboat station earned two Silver Gallantry medals - the RNLI’s second-highest honour.

An MBE has been awarded to Robin Cardwell, former RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager and Coxswain at Portrush Lifeboat Station, for his services to the charity.

Robin, 70, has served Portrush RNLI for 27 years in a variety of roles, starting as a volunteer crew member and then emergency mechanic, before becoming a deputy head coxswain and finally coxswain. Since retiring as coxswain, Robin was appointed as the deputy launching authority for the lifeboat before taking on the role of the Operations Manager 10 years ago. On top of this, Robin has also taken an active role in fundraising campaigns for the station.

Paul Metcalfe, former Eastbourne lifeboat operations manager, has been awarded an MBE for voluntary service to the RNLI in Eastbourne.

Paul has been involved with the lifeboat since 1980 and served as a shore helper, crew member on the inshore and all weather lifeboats, mechanic, radio operator, launch authority, fundraiser and in recent years the lifeboat operations manager.

RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier said: “The RNLI can only save lives at sea with the bravery, skill and dedication of our volunteers, staff and fundraisers. The three volunteer crewmembers being honoured today, with over a century of service between them, are wonderful ambassadors for the charity”.

Robin Cardwell


Robin Cardwell


Paul Metcalfe

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 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