Flint RNLI volunteer recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours
A Flint RNLI volunteer who has dedicated over 50 years to saving lives at sea has today been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Alan Forrester, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at Flint RNLI, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of his charity work on the North Wales coast.
Alan joined Flint RNLI as shore crew when he was only 17 years old, shortly followed to crew then helm in 1974. After retiring from crew duties Alan became the station’s Honourable Secretary, followed by the responsibility of Flint Lifeboat Operations Manager - a key role that he continues to carry out with great pride to this day.
As a crew member he showed great courage on many occasions. In February 1983, Alan led his crew to save two people on the River Dee. With a north-westerly breeze and waves up to 7-foot high, the lifeboat launched to a cabin cruiser which was aground on mud flats and signalling for assistance. He showed great skill in negotiating the broken and confused waters in the approach to the estuary and successfully manoeuvred the lifeboat alongside to take off the two casualties, one who had collapsed due to the conditions. His exemplary boat handling through rough seas saw the lifeboat reach the shore where the casualties were handed into the care of medics. The RNLI’s Bronze Medal for Bravery was duly awarded.
Alan has also led his volunteer crew on land. In 1990, he led the crew to rescue people stranded in Towyn and Pensarn after hurricane force winds caused severe flooding. He and the volunteer lifeboat crew worked tirelessly for 14 hours a day over a 7-day period successfully evacuating over 180 people from the flood waters and the destruction caused to their homes and lives. In 2002, he again led the crew in evacuating people from their homes in Flintshire when the area suffered severe flooding.
Throughout his time at the station Alan has been an avid fundraiser for the charity. As a former Chair of the local RNLI fundraising branch, he knows the importance of raising funds to be able to continue the lifesaving work. For the past 21 years Alan has helped organised Flint’s annual Fireworks display, a highlight in the town’s calendar. This summer he set a personal challenge to cycle the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats outside his home on a stationary bike in aid of the RNLI. Along with support from his crew, Alan raised over £3,000 for the charity.
After hearing of his award, Alan said:
‘I am grateful and humbled to receive this award, but I am accepting this on behalf of us all at Flint RNLI – this is a recognition for the whole team who continue to work tirelessly to support our local community. We are all one team at Flint lifeboat station and will always support each other. However, my biggest support throughout the years has been from my wife, Mary. Without her continued support I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half of what I’ve done and because of that I’ll always be grateful.’
RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie said:
‘It is such a delight to see these RNLI people recognised for their hard work and commitment, particularly as we have had such a challenging year.
‘Those who have been named in this year’s Birthday Honours truly represent the RNLI values through their dedication, support and courage. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, I send my heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to all those who have been recognised.’
Notes to editor
Attached is a photo of Alan Forrester, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager of Flint RNLI. Credit: Nu Visions Photography.
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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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