Holyhead lifeboat man recognised in New Year’s Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Holyhead lifeboat man Graham Drinkwater has been recognised for his dedication and commitment to saving lives at sea in this year’s New Years’ Honours list.

Graham Drinkwater from Holyhead is awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list for his service to saving lives at sea.


Graham Drinkwater, Holyhead RNLI

In an announcement made today, the charity would like to congratulate Graham Drinkwater on receiving an MBE in the Queen’s New Years’ Honours.

Graham Drinkwater from Holyhead was brought up a stone’s throw away from the lifeboat station and he would rush to watch the lifeboat launch when the maroons were fired. At the age of 16 he was too young to join the crew, so made his way into the station by taking on shore-based roles before joining the crew at 17.

Graham’s first ever service call came when he was 19 years old, a rescue mission to save the Greek cargo ship Nafsiporos. Unbeknownst to him, this rescue was set to go down in history and he was awarded a medal for bravery after the heroic rescue of 19 crew from a freighter in 100mph hurricane winds and 35 foot waves. Not to be deterred by such a dramatic experience, he went on to give many years of unwavering service to the lifeboat station. Before changing roles from crew member to leading the station’s volunteers as Lifeboat Operations Manager, Graham had assisted 439 lives at sea during his time as crew.

In recent times he set up a drop-in ‘clinic’ at the lifeboat station offering free safety advice to people going out to sea from the Anglesey coastline. These drop-in sessions have almost certainly helped save lives through prevention and now other lifeboat stations around the country, in high risk areas, are adopting a similar method to help people before they even get into the water.

This year, he stepped down from 16 years of running the operations at Holyhead lifeboat station. This voluntary role oversees the day to day running of the station as well as making the difficult decision of whether to allow the lifeboat to launch, in whatever conditions may be facing his crew.

Of receiving the honour Graham said: ‘It is a great honour to be awarded an MBE and it is very humbling. It is a reflection on all RNLI volunteers that I have served with over many years and hopefully many years to come. It is not something that can be done on your own.’

RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier said: ‘The RNLI depends on the tremendous courage, commitment and skill of its volunteers, staff and fundraisers – and those that have been named in this year’s New Year Honours truly exemplify those qualities. I am immensely proud of all our tireless staff and volunteers who received Honours this year – it is wonderful that these well-deserving people have been recognised in this way, we could not carry on our lifesaving work without them.’

Notes to editor

Attached is a photo of Graham Drinkwater, Holyhead RNLI volunteer.

Credit – RNLI.

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For more information contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Media Officer on 07771 941390 or email Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email 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, in a normal year, 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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