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Maesteg’s Mr RNLI retires at age 89

Lifeboats News Release

Ken Lewis, an RNLI volunteer fundraiser, has decided to retire from active service due to mobility issues after almost 40 years of representing the charity particularly in the Maesteg area.

Ken Lewis, known in Maesteg as 'Mr RNLI'

RNLI

Ken Lewis, known in Maesteg as 'Mr RNLI'

During his time with the RNLI Ken, from Aneurin Bevan Way, became known throughout his town as 'Mr RNLI' due in the main to his passion for helping to raise money for the charity he supported so faithfully.

Such was his dedication that in the year 2000 he was awarded the Bridgend County Borough Council Mayor’s Citizenship Award.

Coincidently on the same day Ken’s late wife, Barbara, received the same award for her voluntary help and support to Y Bwythyn Princess of Wales hospital, Bridgend.

Then in 2007 the RNLI recognised Ken and he was awarded the charity's Bronze Badge for fund raising.

‘I was employed as a NCB electrical engineer and retired in 1983’, Ken said: ‘Becoming a fundraiser was quite a difference for me. At first there were a few of us locals who ran a RNLI fundraising guild here in Maesteg but after several years the group disbanded.

'By this time though I had seen the benefit of fundraising for the charity and I joined the Fundraising Committee at Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat station in 1995. We would meet every month in Porthcawl and discuss plans for collections and fund raising events.

'I suppose unofficially I became the Maesteg face of the RNLI, at one time I was responsible for having 100 lifeboat collecting boxes in local businesses and I would visit each business once a month to empty the boxes. Unfortunately with many shops and pubs closing in the town the number of lifeboat boxes had dropped to 35, but this is still a significant amount and every penny collected helps the charity.'

Ken, a father of two; daughter Valerie and son Ian, would regularly be seen outside the town’s supermarkets with a collecting bucket whatever the weather. He even enrolled the help of his son Ian and arranged for his RNLI authorisation so as to help when Ken broke his leg in 2008.

Over the years he has also organised three fundraising concerts by choirs from Maesteg.

John Abraham, chairman of Porthcawl RNLI, said: ‘I have worked with Ken for many years on our committee and he has made a big difference not only to our fundraising results, but he has been a true ambassador for our charity in his home town.

'We very much hope to maintain our presence in Maesteg and hope to recruit someone with as much dedication as that shown by Ken. Although he has retired from his active role he is still a valuable committee member and remains a RNLI Life Governor, a position he has held since 1990.'

Notes to editors:

For further information contact Ian Stroud, Lifeboat Press Officer, Porthcawl, on 07590 777875 or Eleri Roberts, Divisional Media Relations Manager (Wales) on 01745 585162 or 07771941390, email eleri_roberts@rnli.org.uk or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 33678 or pressoffice@rnli.org.uk.

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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