Aberystwyth RNLI volunteer recognised in Queen’s New Years’ Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Richard Griffiths, Aberystwyth volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, has been awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) in the Queen’s 2020 New Years’ Honours List – 32 years after the same medal was awarded to his father. The award is in honour of his 47 years’ service to saving lives at sea.

Richard Griffiths, Aberystwyth volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, has been awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) in the Queen’s 2020 New Years’ Honours List – 32 years after the same medal was awarded to his father. The award is in honour of his 47 years’ service to saving lives at sea.

RNLI/Aberystwyth

Richard Griffiths, Aberystwyth RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager.

Richard joined Borth lifeboat crew in 1972 after spending three years away from the coast of Ceredigion training and working in London with the Fire Brigade. Richard’s father, John David Griffiths, was one of the founding members of Borth RNLI, which meant he’d spent his childhood at the lifeboat station.

Richard moved lifeboat stations in 1987 as his work with the Fire Brigade took him a few miles down the coast to Aberystwyth, where he’s been volunteering with the town’s lifeboat station ever since.

Over the years, his local knowledge has provided re-assurance to casualties and crews alike. His safe-handed and trusted approach comes, in part, from many years of experience on the front-line as a crewmember and helmsman. After years volunteering on the crew, the admired and highly regarded member the community then took on the role of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Operations Manager in 2000 where he continues to lead and support the station today.

Throughout his service to the charity, he has been at the forefront of supporting, encouraging and attending both ceremonial and social events with many organisations in the town and beyond. He is also passionate about water safety education, representing the RNLI at many school visits and events; this year alone he has delivered 25 school visits educating over 800 local children, and hosted numerous group tours of the station.

Richard said:

‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth - and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’

Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.

Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said:


‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’

Notes to editor

Attached photos show:

  • Richard Griffiths, Aberystwyth RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager.
  • Richard’s father, John David Griffiths, receiving his BEM award by the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed in 1988.


RNLI media contact

For more information contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Regional Media Manger in Wales and the West on 07786 668829, Eleri Robert, Regional Media Officer on 07771 941390 or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email PressOffice@rnli.org.uk.

John David Griffiths, receiving his BEM award by the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed in 1988.

RNLI/Richard Griffiths

John David Griffiths, receiving his BEM award by the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed in 1988.

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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