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Retired Ramsgate coxswain Ron Cannon awarded MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteer crew members and the lifeboat community at Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat station congratulate their retired coxswain Ron Cannon after he was awarded an MBE in Her Majesty the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours.

Retired Ramsgate coxswain Ron Cannon

RNLI/John Ray

Ron Cannon MBE, retired Ramsgate coxswain

Ron, 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.

He was a crewmember of Ramsgate RNLI (one of the busiest stations in Britain) for 37 years – and the coxswain for 25 of those. During his time at the helm of Ramsgate lifeboat he was awarded two Silver Gallantry medals - the RNLI’s second-highest honour. Following family tradition, Ron joined Ramsgate lifeboat crew in 1964, and was appointed the station’s coxswain/mechanic in 1976, at the time the RNLI’s youngest coxswain. This was shortly before the arrival at the station of the RNLI’s Waveney class lifeboat Ralph and Joy Swann, a new and advanced lifeboat design based upon a vessel proven by the US Coastguard.

He was twice awarded the RNLI’s Silver Medal for his ‘truly outstanding seamanship and tremendous courage’ for rescues. The first was during the evening of Boxing Day 1985 when he and his volunteer lifeboat crew members managed to save a French trawler and its seven-man crew when the trawler had run aground in Ramsgate’s Pegwell Bay. The second was in November 1999, when he led his crew to rescue the three-person crew of a yacht aground on the Goodwin Sands in difficult and dangerous conditions.

For each of these rescues he was also presented with The Maud Smith Award for that year’s bravest act of lifesaving by a lifeboat crew member.

Ron retired as coxswain in 2001 and was succeeded by his eldest son Ian. He maintained his association with Ramsgate lifeboat station firstly as a Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) and subsequently as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) until he reached the RNLI’s required retirement age. His active support for the RNLI and the station continues, however, as President of the station’s management committee.

Paul Boissier, Chief Executive of the RNLI, said ‘Ron is an exceptional lifeboatman who has tirelessly served the RNLI and the local community of Ramsgate for over half a century. He is a courageous, dedicated and immensely generous volunteer who has always been willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. As such, he greatly deserves this prestigious honour.’

RNLI media contacts

  • John Ray, Volunteer RNLI Press Officer, Ramsgate on 07759 480825, john.g.ray@talk21.com
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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.

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