RNLI medals mark more than 39,000 years of service

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has recognised some of its longest serving volunteers who together have racked up more than 39,000 years of work for the lifesaving charity.

Clockwise from top left: Iain Fulton, one of the new medals, Colin Wilson and Peigi Robertson

RNLI/Leonie Mead

Clockwise from top left: Iain Fulton, one of the new medals, Colin Wilson and Peigi Robertson

A total of 1,400 people were awarded the newly commissioned medals for reaching the landmarks of between 20 to 60 years of service during 2020.

Together, their combined total was a staggering 39,750 years of commitment to saving lives at sea, in a variety of roles from the shore to the lifeboat.

RNLI chairman Stuart Popham said: ‘We have known of the courage and commitment of our volunteers ever since the RNLI was founded in 1824.

‘There were 1,400 recipients last year for our new long service awards - 10 very special people were honoured for more than 60 years of service and 78 people have been hard at it for over 50 years.

‘In total, the collective service of all those recipients stretches to more than 39 millennia of lifesaving and community work, which is just mind boggling and I cannot thank them enough for their decades of unwavering commitment.’

The long service awards were brought in last year to recognise volunteer’s cumulative service across the various roles they have performed for the RNLI - from lifeboat and shore crew, to fundraising, water safety and education.

Oban RNLI were among those celebrating their achievements with seven of their volunteers reaching medal milestones totalling 220 years of service to the Scottish lifeboat station.

Peigi Robertson and Mary Lamont were both recognised for reaching their half centuries, while crew members Ian Henry (30 years), Barry MacTaggart (20) and Ian Stevenson (20) along with Deputy Launching Authorities Colin Wilson (30) and Iain Fulton (20) were also recognised for their years of selfless volunteering.

Peigi said ‘So much has changed over the years but the camaraderie within the lifeboat family never changes. I’m always amazed at the generosity of the public, too; if anyone deserves a medal, it’s the people of Oban.’

Stuart Popham added: ‘I feel inspired by all of our volunteer’s efforts and I cannot wait for the time to come again when I can visit our lifeboat stations, fundraising shops and museums around the UK and Ireland to meet the incredible people who make the RNLI what it is.’

A full list of the 2020 recipients can be found here

Notes to editors:

  • The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and Ireland, and they continue to launch to those in peril at sea during the pandemic
  • To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: rnli.org/donate
  • To find out how to volunteer for the RNLI go to: rnli.org/support-us/volunteer

For more information, please contact RNLI National Media Officer Andy Rose on 07976 523794 or email andrew_rose@rnli.org.uk Alternatively, contact the press office on 01202 336789 or pressoffice@rnli.org.uk

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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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.

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