Queen’s New Year Honours list includes RNLI volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Dedicated RNLI volunteers are amongst those recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2020.


Chairman of the Crewe and Nantwich Fundraising Branch, Rodney Cottrell (centre), has been volunteering for over 50 years.

Announced today, the Queen’s New Year Honours includes four fundraising volunteers and two lifeboat station volunteers from the RNLI.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: “The RNLI is very proud of the volunteers who have been recognised in this year’s New Year Honours.

‘Thanks to the tireless dedication and courage of our volunteers, fundraisers and staff, we are able to continue to do our vital lifesaving work.’

Carole Jackson, Chair of the Hoylake Fundraising Branch, has volunteered with the RNLI and wider community for over 36 years. She has received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services.

Carole has been the driving force behind the Hoylake Lifeboat Day. The event has become an annual fixture in the Wirral calendar, bringing the local community together and drawing in crowds from across the country.

Over £1,500,000 has been raised since Carole joined the branch in 1983 and with her at the helm, the branch has delivered in excess of £430,000.

Carole said: ‘I think the Honours is a lovely way to recognise all RNLI volunteers and I am so delighted and honoured to receive a BEM.’

At 92, Gordon Schofield still volunteers for the Stockport Fundraising Branch and is a dedicated member of his local community. Gordon has received a BEM for his services and commitment.

For over 50 years, he was an active member of the Cheadle and Gatley Fundraising Branch until he was elected as the Chairman of the Stockport Branch in 1996.

As well as his work for the RNLI, Gordon was a valued member of the St Anne’s Hospice, a blood donor for 30 years and an Honorary Auditor and Treasurer for the Scout and Guide Association for 37 years, whilst also contributing to many other good causes in his local community.

Commenting on his award, Gordon said: ‘I am just astounded, I really can’t believe it. After being rescued by an RNLI coxswain in the ‘60s, I just knew I had to get involved with fundraising for the charity.’

Rachel Tonkin has dedicated 50 years to the Lizard Fundraising Team and has been a key member of her local community. She has received a BEM for her services.

Rachel joined the Guild in 1970 and has worked tirelessly to build relationships with local businesses to increase the number of RNLI collection boxes in the community.

On her 80th birthday, Rachel served more than 180 people with tea and toast in a four-hour period at the station’s Big Breakfast. Rachel’s traditional home cooked Cornish food is also a highlight for volunteers and visitors to the station.

Still in shock from hearing the news, Rachel said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I read the letter, I’m absolutely over the moon! I’ve enjoyed every minute of volunteering for the RNLI, and I feel so overwhelmed at the news of the Honours.’

Chairman of the Crewe and Nantwich Fundraising Branch, Rodney Cottrell, has volunteered for over 50 years, receiving a BEM for his services.

Although Rodney is over 80 years of age, he continues to be a truly impressive role model in his local community. A passion for sailing saw him gain interest in the RNLI and in 2007, he became Chairman of his local fundraising branch.

Since then, he has helped to grow annual income from £2,000 to £20,000 today, establishing the Audlem RNLI Festival as a key event for the local area. Also, he has worked tirelessly to support the inclusion of disadvantaged people through a huge variety of charitable causes.

Rodney said: ‘Sailing has always been a big part of my life so I felt it was responsible to be part of the RNLI and do everything I could to raise funds. I’m absolutely delighted to receive the British Empire Medal.’

John Horton has made a phenomenal contribution to the Calshot Lifeboat Station and his local community for over 48 years and has been awarded with a BEM.

John held a variety of positions at the station, with the majority being command appointments, for 21 years. Whilst volunteering as the Honorary Secretary and then Volunteer Launching Authority, John was responsible for launching over 635 times, saving 142 lives.

After taking care of the operational work of the Calshot Lifeboat Station for a number of years, John has now shifted his focus and taken on the role of Station Treasurer. He is well known as an engaging speaker for the RNLI and regularly hosts school visits to the station.

Commenting on his medal, John said: ‘Having already received an award from the RNLI, it was a very unexpected but pleasant surprise to receive the BEM.’

Retired Lifeboat Operations Manager, Captain Iain Dunderdale, gave 36 years of service to Invergordon Lifeboat Station and has received a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Iain started volunteering for the RNLI in 1982 and spent 36 years overseeing many lifeboat launches at the helm. In 2016, Iain received the RNLI Gold Badge for his services to the station, including his involvement in fundraising days, station awareness and education as well as overseeing its services.

Iain has also played an important role in his local community, including working with the Port Cromarty Firth and his dedication to the Cruise Industry where he was called Scotland's 'Mr Cruise' and received an Outstanding Achievement Award for his commercial work.

Commenting on the New Year Honours List, an Invergordon Lifeboat Spokesperson said, 'We are absolutely thrilled and delighted to learn that Iain has been recognised for his work, time and commitment to the RNLI and community.'

Chris Lamb has been awarded with a BEM for his commitment and services to The Lifeboat Fund and the for starting Team Chocolate Orange in 2010.

Chris got involved with the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund through his work at the Department of Work and Pensions back in 2008. In the last year, the fund has helped raise more than £8,000 for the RNLI. When talking about why he got involved with The Lifeboat Fund, Chris said: 'The RNLI has always been a cause that is really close to my heart as it's just incredible what the RNLI do.'

After losing his son, Elliott, to congenital cytomegalovirus back in 2010, Chris wanted to thank the people who had looked after his son and family during a difficult time. He gave a Terry's Chocolate Orange to a physiotherapist and now, nine years later, Team Chocolate Orange have gifted over 72,000 chocolate oranges to UK medical and emergency staff.

When asked how he felt about his Honour, Chris said: 'It was such a buzz reading the letter and finding out I would receive a BEM. But I have to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me over the years.'

Stuart Trought will receive an MBE for his services to Alderney including volunteering for the island's RNLI Lifeboat Station.

After returning to the island, Stuart joined the Alderney Lifeboat Station Committee that acts as the backbone of the station and key advisory body to the RNLI Trustees in 2001. However, due to his previous maritime experience, Stuart was itching to get out on the seas again and eventually became part of the crew.

Once he had retired at 65, Stuart became the Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) and Chairman of the RNLI Alderney Branch, both of which he continues to do today. The RNLI has always been a cause close to Stuart's heart; whilst captain of a ship in the 1980s, he held a fundraiser for the RNLI on board the ship over Christmas and has even kept hold of the RNLI thank you letter.

Commenting on finding out about the MBE, Stuart said: 'It was a mixture of emotions really. Total surprise and then of course I was thrilled that someone had taken the time to nominate me.'

Stuart is a very active member of his local community and was the President of Alderney until he stepped down in May this year. Discussing his presidency, Stuart said: 'It was a great honour and privilege that the people of Alderney felt that I was the right person to represent them.'


Rachel Tonkin has dedicated 50 years to the RNLI Lizard Fundraising Team.


Calshot Lifeboat Station volunteer, John Horton, has been focusing his efforts on fundraising for the RNLI in recent years.


Gordon Schofield is a role model for the local community and is the current Chair of the RNLI Stockport Fundraising Branch.

RNLI/Michael MacDonald

Captain Iain Dunderdale has received an MBE for his services to the RNLI and local community. Pictured here at his retirement.


Chris Lamb will receive a BEM for his dedication and hard work to the Lifeboat Fund and Team Chocolate Orange.

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 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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