Long serving volunteer Peter Foster stands down from Swanage RNLI after 17 years
For the last 9 years Peter has served as the Chairman of Swanage Lifeboat Station, but Peter’s commitment to the RNLI started long before this.
Prior to taking on the role of Chairman Peter was a boathouse attendant at the lifeboat station, showing visitors around, and he also worked alongside is late wife Jan in the lifeboat shop.
From the outset Peter was always active in getting people involved with the RNLI and to date many of our supporters and volunteers are thanks to Peter’s introduction, such as The Dorset Golf and Country Club who have supported Swanage Lifeboat Week now for many years. Peter worked with the Club to set up a golf day and sourced a number of sponsors for the event, as well as encouraging a Swanage RNLI team, including some of the crew, to enter each year. Since Peter set up the annual golf day in aid of Swanage Lifeboat Station, this event alone has raised over £20,000 and gathered great support from participants.
It is also thanks to Peter, that our current fundraising chairperson, Jane Flood, started volunteering at Swanage. Peter was formerly a neighbour to Jane’s parents and had met Jane when she visited, so when Jane moved back to Swanage Peter signed her up straight away. Jane said ‘Throughout my time as a volunteer Peter has been a great support. As well as encouraging me to get involved in the first place, he has always been willing to get involved with fundraising and to help organise new events which has really helped our fundraising efforts in Swanage’.
In March 2011 Peter was elected as Chairman and led the Swanage Lifeboat Station through many events, perhaps most notably the fundraising appeal for our new lifeboat station. This huge project was years in the planning and took time to reach fruition but has enhanced the station immensely, providing improved facilities for the volunteers and the lifeboats for years to come. It was not an easy journey, but Peter worked tirelessly alongside our Patron of the Appeal, John Whybrow, and a team of volunteers on the project to reach and exceed our fundraising target, raising over £465,000 in total. And as well as overseeing the fundraising effort, he was also a driving force with regards to the progress of the project and welfare of the volunteers.
Peter’s kind and professional manner has been a huge asset to the station over the years. Swanage Lifeboat Coxswain said ‘I have been fortunate enough to work with Peter for many years and am particularly grateful for his support during the station build and arrival of the Shannon class which was when I took over as Coxswain. We are lucky in Swanage to have a great number of volunteers, but even luckier to have volunteers such as Peter who give their time freely for such a long period. It is because of people like Peter, and thanks to the hours they give, that our station continues to be well supported. Unfortunately the restrictions of 2020 have meant that we have not been able to arrange a proper send off for Peter and others who have stepped down or retired this year, but we hope that we can rectify this in 2021. All the RNLI volunteers at Swanage are very grateful for Peter’s dedication and support over the years and we look forward to honouring his commitment next year.’
Chris Kenny has taken on the voluntary role of Chairman and we welcome him to Swanage Lifeboat Station.
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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 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.