St Ives RNLI give heartfelt thanks to Joan Tanner for 32 years service.
It was a special day for St Ives RNLI on Saturday 29th February. Everyone gathered together to give thanks and recognition to Joan Tanner, who selflessly gave 32 years of voluntary service.
Volunteers make up 95% of the RNLI, and no one embodies the true meaning of giving more so than Joan and her family, where the lifeboat has very much been present through the generations.
Being born in St Ives, Joan grew up with the lifeboat. It was very much a part of day to day life, so it seemed natural that when she met her husband John Tanner, he was also an embedded member of St Ives RNLI, and at his time of retirement he himself had clocked up an amazing 44 years of voluntary service. Marrying John was also the beginning of Joan’s active fundraising volunteer career.
Joan explained “Really I was involved for 57 years with the lifeboat; I would wake up with my husband when the rockets went off to launch the lifeboat – and I would often drive him down. But once the children were a little older, it was natural for me to take a more formal voluntary role, so I joined in 1987 what was known then as the Ladies Guild. I started as a committee member. It was very different then, we fundraised door to door, had tea and coffee mornings, and over time we started to sell Christmas cards and the odd souvenir”.
Fundraising has changed significantly over the years, and as Joan started with St Ives RNLI as a committee member, her roles changed too. Over a number of years Joan fulfilled many different positions from Box Secretary, Vice Chair and finally Chair of the Fundraising team which at the age of 78 she has just stepped down from.
Joan’s family from her late father in law, late husband, sons and daughter all have held or currently hold active roles within the RNLI. Joan said “The lifeboat is very much a part of our lives. Even holidays when the children were young were organised around which lifeboat stations we were going to visit as a family. That’s if we actually managed to get the car and children packed up and off on holiday. Quite often we would be packed ready to go and the lifeboat was needed, my husband would rush off to launch the lifeboat. Its now my son Peter Tanner doing that, he has recently celebrated 30 years’ service as well. My daughter Suzanne Tanner has also been involved on the fundraising team as current fundraising manager for St Ives RNLI she has also given around 15 years’ service, so you see its been in all of my families lives and continues to be so”.
Whilst Joan steps down and retires from her role as Chair of Fundraising, she still cares passionately about the lifeboat, her extensive fundraising activities have enabled our crews to always respond to the call for help and continue to save lives at sea. Being a volunteer is a real commitment and Joan explained it perfectly “You really have to care, be passionate, be prepared to give, get involved and whatever the needs were, we met them and ensured that we could raise the money our station needed to help anyone out on the sea in distress. It’s been a lifetime commitment, and I have done it out of love for the lifeboat, as have my family - we have always given. I know that as I retire from my role that it’s in safe hands, with a great fundraising team that really cares”.
Guy Botterill, Area Lifesaving Manager said “It’s rare you meet someone like Joan Tanner, she has without doubt given above and beyond to the RNLI, and we cannot thank her enough for her service”.
So, with real pride Joan was presented with a certificate of her service, flowers and a gift as well as extensive and heartfelt thanks for all she has given to St Ives RNLI over the many years, her contributions have been immeasurable.
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.