Donate now

Long service awards and congratulations for Hastings volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Everyone at RNLI Hastings Lifeboat Station have offered their congratulations to Don and Shirley Hawley, who have both recently received long service awards from the Institution.

Hastings volunteers Don and Shirley Hawley.


Hastings volunteers Don and Shirley Hawley.

Shirley started volunteering in the RNLI shop at Hastings over forty years ago, saying that she “loved the sea and so the natural thing to do was to volunteer for the RNLI”.

One of Shirley’s most memorable moments was once being rescued by the very lifeboat she spent so many hours supporting. In 1987 a major fire in the Country Park had cut off footpaths down to the beach at Fairlight Glen. This meant that many people were stranded and they, including Shirley, had to be rescued by the Hastings lifeboat ‘Fairlight’.

Shirley’s husband Don also started volunteering in 1987, and he later took on the position of Sea Safety Officer at Hastings.

When the new Hastings Lifeboat Station opened in 1996 Shirley was put in charge of Youth and Education, and appointed as the Lifeboat Visits Officer. She also became the first RNLI Press Officer at Hastings. Don soon joined her in helping arrange group visits and steward services at the station. Shirley received a Bronze medal for volunteering in 2004, and Silver medal in 2014.

As a result of their hard work, school and group visits to the station have increased year on year. In 2019 for example, one hundred and five schools and groups received organised talks and tours of the station, along with over 53,000 other visitors who came through the station’s doors.

In spite of all that Shirley has achieved over the years supporting the RNLI, she still says that her proudest moment was when her daughter, Sloane became the first female coxswain of the all-weather lifeboat at Hastings.

The RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager at Hastings, Andy Davey said. ‘We are all aware of the lifeboat volunteers who go out to save lives at sea. However, it’s the longstanding volunteers like Shirley and Don that really keeps the RNLI afloat. Their combined volunteering effort over so many years is an inspiration to us all, and I along with everyone else, at the station cannot begin to thank Shirley and Don enough for all they have done over the years to promote the RNLI.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Hastings Volunmteer Press Officer Clive Mayhew, on 07711 673138

Or Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07785 296252 or [email protected] or Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager, on 07827 358256 or [email protected] . Alternatively, you can content the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre

Hastings volunteers Don and Shirley Hawley.


Hastings volunteers Don and Shirley Hawley.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.