The Lifeboat Fund welcomes new Chair

Lifeboats News Release

On Wednesday (3 July), Sir Mark Sedwill, Cabinet Secretary, handed over his position as Chair of The Lifeboat Fund to Jeremy Fleming in an event held at Tower Lifeboat Station on the Thames.


L-R, Jeremy Flemming, Mark Dowie, Sir Mark Sedwill

The Lifeboat Fund is an official charity of the Civil Service and it exists for one purpose: to raise money to support the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the charity that saves lives at sea. It is the longest serving regular contributor to the RNLI. Since being established in 1866 it has funded 53 lifeboats, including one hovercraft and £400,000 towards the refurbishment of Tower Lifeboat Station on the River Thames.

Over the last three-and-a-half years, Sir Mark Sedwill, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, has chaired The Lifeboat Fund. During his time as Chair, Sir Mark has seen it achieve a £1.1 million fundraising target for a new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat and he was also pivotal in launching the new Defeat Drowning Together Appeal, which aims to support the RNLI’s prevention work over the next 3-5 years.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, welcomed both to Tower Lifeboat Station and presented Sir Mark with a photo provided by the RNLI Heritage team, of Lifeboat Civil Service No.3, Greater London, which was funded by The Lifeboat Fund and assisted with the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Mark Dowie said:

‘As the RNLI’s longest-standing partners, it was a pleasure to welcome Chairman of the Lifeboat Fund, Sir Mark Sedwill, and the incoming Chair, Jeremy Fleming, to Tower. Sir Mark has steered the Fund over the past three-and-a-half years and, in that time, the charity has raised enough to fund a new Shannon class lifeboat, support the shore-works at Wells Lifeboat Station and, with the RNLI, launch the Defeat Drowning Together Appeal. I am looking forward to working with Jeremy in continuing this historic relationship.’

Sir Mark Sedwill said:

‘It has been great to serve as Chair of the Lifeboat Fund for three-and-a-half years and continue The Lifeboat Fund’s proud history of being the largest regular contributor the RNLI. During this time, The Lifeboat Fund embarked on its most ambitious fundraising task to date. We marked our 150th Anniversary by raising £1.1M to fund and name our 53rd lifeboat, a Shannon class, which will be based at Wells-Next-The-Sea in Norfolk. This was achieved thanks to the valiant efforts of our fundraisers and the generosity of former civil servants who gave incredible gifts as legacies.

‘Recent events mean I have chosen to stand down as Chair of The Lifeboat Fund and it is with a heavy heart that I do. However my successor, Jeremy Fleming, will continue the work of The Lifeboat Fund and I wish Jeremy the very best as he takes the helm of a magnificent charity.’

Jeremy Fleming said:

‘I am delighted to take on the role of Chair of The Lifeboat Fund and thank Sir Mark (Sedwill) for all he’s done for the Charity and for the essential work of the RNLI’.

‘I believe the future for The Lifeboat Fund is bright. It has donated millions of pounds to the RNLI to fund lifeboats and Iinfrastructure since inception, thanks to the support of our fundraisers. With our plan to branch out, we can increase our funding and add to our proud history of helping the RNLI save lives at sea.’

Notes to the editor

· Design out Drowning is a 3-5 year appeal which launched in April 2018, will support lifeguards at sites across the UK, Swim Safe and Sea Safe in Bangladesh.

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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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