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Donaghadee RNLI Fundraising Chairperson Awarded BEM in New Year's Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Evelyn Bennett, who has been the Chair of the Donaghadee Royal National Lifeboat Institution Fundraising branch since 2005 has been honoured with a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Evelyn Bennett


Evelyn Bennett

Evelyn has been instrumental in encouraging the local community to fundraise for their lifeboat station and to support them in their life-saving work and activities. Evelyn, along with a strong and dedicated fundraising team supporting her, is a key organiser of the annual Donaghadee Lifeboat Festival which is now in its 12th year. The festival brings thousands of people, of all age groups to the town, to view the station's All-Weather Lifeboat Saxon and to get know the lifeboat crew and fundraising team.

Evelyn’s working career began as a personal secretary with the BBC, and when a family came along she became heavily involved in her local community via the Community Association and Donaghadee Sailing Club before investing herself within the RNLI Donaghadee Fundraising Committee.

Evelyn’s passion for the RNLI is a family held one. Her late husband Murdoch was a volunteer with the lifeboat for over thirty years and the tradition is proudly carried on by her son Ross. Her enthusiasm, good humour and dedication shines through and encourages all those around her to give what they can in support of the lifeboat.

Commenting on her award of the British Empire Medal, Evelyn said, ‘I am overwhelmed to have been chosen to receive this honour. The RNLI is a charity I am proud to volunteer for and it is one that is very close to my heart. When we set up the new branch in 2005 we brought a great team together who worked tirelessly to support the station and we are still doing it today’


RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Margaret Ramm, Donaghadee RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07746633365, email or contact Nuala McAloon RNLI Regional Media Officer Ireland on 00353876483547 or email or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Regional Media Manager Ireland on 00353871254124 or

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, Carrybridge 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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