RNLI awards for Llandudno men

Lifeboats News Release

Two Llandudno lifeboatmen, Graham Heritage and Les Jones have received Awards from the RNLI to recognise their dedicated service as members of the town's lifeboat crew for over thirty years.

Coxswain Graham Heritage (L) and Station Mechanic Les Jones (R) pictured outside the lifeboat station - in the background the Great Orme, a welcome first sight of home for many a returning lifeboat crew.

RNLI/Luke Heritage

Graham first volunteered in 1986 and over the ensuing years has worked his way up firstly to assistant mechanic, then to Second Coxswain before being appointed as Lifeboat Coxswain in 2011. Lifeboating runs in Graham's family - his late father was a Llandudno lifeboat crew member and later assistant mechanic for over 24 years,whilst Graham's son Luke has been a crew member for the past nine years and is currently also an assistant mechanic.

Les's family also contains a link with the RNLI, as one of his Great Great Grandfathers was Llandudno lifeboat Coxswain from 1890 to 1904. Les first volunteered for the crew in early 1986, working his way up to assistant mechanic before being appointed to his present post as full-time Station Mechanic in 1999. He is a qualified RNLI Shannon-class lifeboat Coxswain and holds the RYA Yachtmaster certificate.

An RNLI Llandudno spokesman said:

"Everyone at Llandudno lifeboat station was delighted to see Graham and Les receive their well-deserved Awards. Both of them have taken part in hundreds of search and rescue missions during the past thirty years, with many of these operations having been intensely demanding and taking place in extreme weather conditions and hostile sea states. Their continuing commitment to the RNLI and this station in particular is greatly appreciated by all of us."

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 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.

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