Holyhead RNLI Stalwart Receives MBE at Buckingham Palace

Lifeboats News Release

It was a very proud day for Holyhead’s RNLI lifeboat crew today, as long-term volunteer Graham Drinkwater received his MBE in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

RNLI/Tony Price

Graham Drinkwater displays his MBE outside Buckingham Palace

He was presented with his medal by HRH the Prince of Wales.

Graham, 71, received the award in the New Year’s Honours for his decades of work for the RNLI.

He went on his first official shout in 1966 aged 19. The shout was no ordinary call; it was the famous Nafsiporos rescue, where the crews of Holyhead and Moelfre saved the lives of a Greek fishing vessel crew, which was in trouble off the Anglesey coast.

Graham’s time with the RNLI went from strength to strength; in his time as a crewman he helped save 439 lives at sea. He went on to become Mechanic, Coxswain, Deputy Launching Authority and Launch Operation Manager until his retirement last year aged 70 after 16 years as LOM. He still takes an active part at the station, and has many tales to tell of rescues he has attended.

The trip to London was a crew affair, as Graham invited current coxswain Tony Price, mechanic Ian James and deputy launching authority David Owens along with him for support.

Speaking of the experience, Graham said:

‘I feel very proud to receive this award, and particularly proud for the station’s crew, past and present, who I served alongside. Nothing I ever did was alone, it was always a team effort, and I feel I am accepting this on behalf of them all.’

Coxswain Tony Price said:

‘Congratulations from myself and all of the team in Holyhead to Graham. He is an absolute gentleman, and this is thoroughly deserved for his dedication over such a long period of time. He is from a completely different era of seafarers, and he’s seen huge changes over that time. Despite that he has always kept in touch with all the new developments, and it is a privilege to know him.’

During their visit to London, Graham and his companions were also given a guided tour around the Houses of Parliament by Ynys Mon MP Albert Owen.

For further information, please contact Vicki Owens, Lifeboat Press Officer for Holyhead RNLI, on 07531 681409.

Albert Owen MP with Graham Drinkwater and other members of Holyhead RNLI at the Houses of Parliament L-R Ian James (Mechanic) Graham Drinkwater MBE, Albert Owen MP, Tony Price (Coxswain), David Owens (Deputy Launching Authority)

RNLI/Vicki Owens

Graham Drinkwater at the gates of Buckingham Palace before the ceremony

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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