British Empire Medal awarded to RNLI supporter
Long term supporter of Aberdeen RNLI, Audrey Wood, was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list last year, for her contribution and commitment to raising funds for the RNLI, and has now received her medal.
Audrey’s fundraising efforts have seen her raise more than £250,000 for RNLI stations across the northeast of Scotland, including Buckie, Macduff, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Stonehaven and Aberdeen lifeboat stations.
Most notably, in 2016/17, Ms Wood raised and contributed more than half the cost of Aberdeen RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat (ILB). As a result, Audrey was invited to name the new lifeboat.
At a naming ceremony held in 2019, Aberdeen’s ILB was named Buoy Woody 85N, in honour of Audrey’s son, Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood, and 15 others who tragically lost their lives onboard helicopter flight 85N from the BP Miller Platform when it went down offshore Peterhead in 2009.
Each year since 2013, Audrey has hosted Glamour, Glitz and Bubbles, a ladies charity lunch at the Douglas Hotel in Aberdeen, to raise awareness of the RNLI’s lifesaving mission and raise funds for the local stations. Seven ladies lunches have been held in Aberdeen and one in Banff. Fundraising efforts have also included a charity football match and raffles in aid of the RNLI.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 resulted in the event being cancelled last year. Relying on a huge amount of support from the business community, who have been hit hard by the pandemic, Audrey hopes to bring the event back in the future.
Bill Deans, Lifeboat Operations Manager, at Aberdeen RNLI, who attended the award ceremony at Audrey’s home, said: “On behalf of the crew, fundraising committee and management group at Aberdeen lifeboat station, we are honoured for the support we have received from Audrey over the years and we’re delighted to see that recognised on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list last year – and we are delighted that she has now been presented with her medal.”
Speaking of her surprise at being presented with this award, Audrey said: “I was both humbled and delighted to have been put forward for and honoured with a British Empire Medal (BEM). The RNLI was called out to an incident where my son, Woody, and others, lost their lives and is very near to my heart. The work they do is so important, and it was only after that I realised it is a charity and funded by donations. It’s been my pleasure to raise funds for the stations across the northeast.
“This honour is a legacy for my son.”
Audrey Wood received her medal at a small awarding ceremony held outside at her home with eleven of her family and friends. She was presented with her medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Manson, on Monday 5th July 2021.
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.