World Class Tenor Ben Makisi shows his support for RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Ben Makisi was joined by The Cat’s Pyjamas, Pianist Matthew McCombie and the RNLI’s very own shorecrew volunteer Lu Jeffery, for an evening of fundraising and fun at Portishead’s Somerset Hall on Saturday night (21 May)


Ben Makisi

Ben and his wife Maina, were delighted to be able to show support for the RNLI volunteers and offered to put on a concert for them when Ben was home from his travels. The Somerset Hall in Portishead was a far cry from the Sydney Opera House and probably a little smaller than most of the many venues Ben has performed in before, but this just made the evening even more unique for his fans, some of who had travelled many miles just to see him. Ben performed a number of beautiful songs some with his wife Maina and the audience were treated to a world class performance.

Lu Jeffery who is part of the Allegrezza String Quartet and has also performed in the worlds top venues including the Royal Albert Hall, started the evening off with wonderful violin solo accompanied by Matthew. Followed closely by The Cat’s Pyjamas a local doo-wop group who delighted the crowd with songs from the 1940’s, who got all the toes tapping! The evening took a short break, time to show the audience a video clip of all the rescues the volunteer lifeboat crew took part in during 2016. It was time for a drink and then back in for the second half. Again the Cat’s Pyjamas took to the stage followed by Lu now in her iconic RNLI yellow wellies. Then over to Ben where he shared ‘Lo Solo Mio’ with the crowd. It was a surprise when RNLI’s Nick Williams joined the stage with Ben for a few minutes where they sang together. The evening finished with the famous ‘Just One Cornetto’ the wonderful ‘Nessun Dorma’ and ‘Time To Say Goodbye’.

Dave Slack, Lifeboat Operations Manager said that ‘We feel extremely lucky to have Ben living locally, as part of our community, and for him to offer his support to raise money for the RNLI means so much to us.

All of our guests on Saturday night were fantastic. People came from all over the country to see the show and we very much appreciate their support’.

Nick Williams RNLI crew volunteer, who organised the evening, also said ‘When The Portishead Lifeboat Trust was adopted by the RNLI 2 years ago I asked Ben if he would consider doing a concert for us, he agreed. He is well known and loved by British people, like my parents who have seen him several times, as he performs frequently on some of the world’s most glamorous cruise ships.

I was honoured that Ben and his lovely wife Maina found time in their very busy 2017 schedule to commit to Saturday's concert. Matthew's accompaniment was sensational. The Cat's Pyjamas were fabulous and Lu Jeffrey's violin pieces were beautiful’.

RNLI notes to editors

All Images are ©RNLI Portishead, high resolution are available on request, just email Helen Lazenby,

  1. Ben Makisi
  2. Lu Jeffery in her iconic yellow wellies
  3. The Cat’s Pyjamas
  4. Ben with his wife Maina
  5. Nick Williams, Dave Slack, Matthew McCombie, Ben Makisi, Lu Jeffery, The Cat’s Pyjamas
RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Helen Lazenby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07800 595995 or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.


2.Lu Jeffery in her iconic yellow wellies


The Cat’s Pyjamas


Ben with his wife Maina


5.Nick Williams, Dave Slack, Matthew McCombie, Ben Makisi, Lu Jeffery, The Cat’s Pyjamas

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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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