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President of the Isle of Wight Lifeboat Board retires

Lifeboats News Release

Major General Sir Martin White KCVO, CB, CBE, JP retires as the President of the Isle of Wight Lifeboat Board and is also made a Vice-President of the RNLI.

Sir Martin White being presented with the Isle of Lifeboat Board's painting

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Robin Ebsworth & Sir Martin White

A ceremony was held at the Inshore Lifeboat Centre, East Cowes yesterday (Tuesday 10 September) to mark the retirement of Major General Sir Martin White KCVO, CB, CBE, JP as the President of the Isle of Wight RNLI Board.

However, before the Board’s presentation to Sir Martin he kindly carried out one final duty by presenting ‘Excellence in Volunteering’ awards to Caroline Peel (Vice-Chairman of the Board) and Lesley Myland (Honorary Secretary).

Sir Martin White accepted the Presidency of the Isle of Wight RNLI Board, a unique organisation within the RNLI, in 2006.

The Board was established in 1859 to assist with Island wide fund raising for lifeboats to cover the ‘Back of the Wight, the heroism and dedication of the early lifeboat volunteers continues to inspire current generations of RNLI Staff and volunteers. Sir Martin in his role as President, and also as the Island’s Lord Lieutenant, has consistently supported and encouraged with vigour, the work and ethos of the RNLI across the Isle of Wight in trying to ‘Save Lives at Sea’.

He has consistently supported the Board’s volunteers in their efforts to raise funds, encouraged RNLI’s staff and volunteers with the Island’s three lifeboat stations and at the Inshore Lifeboat Centre. He has officiated at Royal visits, lifeboat naming ceremonies, and other special RNLI events. Tasks that he has undertaken with a sincere and genuine understanding of the RNLI’s ethos and work on the Isle of Wight.

Before making the presentation, Robin Ebsworth, Chairman of the Board, explained that the painting that Sir Martin was to be presented with was commissioned by the Board and was the work of Steve Simmonds, a former coxswain of the Bembridge Lifeboat and interestingly also previously an employee of the Inshore Lifeboat Centre.

After Robin Ebsworth had made the presentation, Mark Southwell, Lifeboat Operations Manger of Cowes RNLI presented Sir Martin with a picture from the Station. Ed Rennie, an apprentice at Inshore Lifeboat Centre then presented some flowers to Lady White.

The Chairman then introduced Angie Rook, the Associate Director, Fundraising Marketing and Media Department of the RNLI who talked about the RNLI’s award of Vice-President of the RNLI to Sir Martin and presented him a certificate. She explained that this award was made by the Board of Trustee’s of the RNLI and that of the 90 Honorary Vice-Presidents throughout the UK & ROI, Sir Martin was the only one on the Isle the Wight.

Sir Martin then thanked both the Isle of Wight Lifeboat Board, and the Board of Trustees of the RNLI for their generous words and presentations. He added that he was almost lost for words and felt greatly honoured; he had after all only been doing what he enjoyed doing. He commended the work of the Isle of Wight Lifeboat Board which he saw embracing the RNLI family across the Island and being made a Life President of the RNLI was the ‘icing on the cake’.

RNLI media contacts

Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or mikesam06@gmail.com

Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07785 296252 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Sir Martin White being presented with the RNLI Vice-President Certificate

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Angie Rook & Sir Martin White
Caroline Peel being presented with her 'Excellence in Volunteering award

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Caroline Peel & Sir Martin White
Lesley Mayland being presented with her 'Excellence in Volunteering Award

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Lesley Myland & Sir Martin White
Lady White being presented with some flowers

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Ed Rennie, Robin Ebsworth & Lady White
Picture by Steve Simmonds - ex Coxswain, Bembridge Lifeboat

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Picture by Steve Simmonds

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 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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