Lifeboat volunteer Keith completes 40 years of RNLI service

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteers of Llandudno RNLI are proud to be celebrating the landmark achievement of 40 years’ service for Keith Charlton.


Keith on parade for Trafalgar Day with his long service medals

Keith has volunteered at both Beaumaris and Llandudno serving on many different lifeboats. Keith started at Beaumaris in 1981 when the station still had an all-weather lifeboat and an inshore lifeboat in two quite separate boathouses. Keith was the last serving winchman before the all-weather lifeboat station was decommissioned in 1991.

Not long after, Keith moved to Llandudno becoming one of the station’s Assistant Mechanics. Apart from Assistant Mechanic, Keith has been a crew member on both the inshore lifeboat and the all-weather lifeboat, a launch vehicle driver, shore crew, reserve Head Launcher, Safety Officer and now Boathouse Manager. Over his long service Keith has completed hundreds of rescues with many lives saved, Keith recalls that some were particularly challenging and arduous and some sadly with distressing conclusions.

One of Keith’s most poignant memories was being involved with the transfer of a relief lifeboat to Cornwall after the harrowing tragedy involving the Penlee Lifeboat the Solomon Browne in 1981. He also vividly recalls a particular “shout”, spending many hours at sea in Force 10 gale on board “The Robert” a Watson Class Lifeboat, when the crew were tasked to attend and escort the training ship Kaskelot from the Anglesey coastline back to Liverpool in the most treacherous conditions imaginable.

Representing the RNLI, Keith has also enjoyed meeting members of the Royal Family both at Buckingham Palace and locally with Prince William. Keith recently met with the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge who talked with him about the Prince training with Llandudno Lifeboat during air sea rescue helicopter exercises.

Like many volunteers in the RNLI, Keith’s family have played a huge role in supporting him during his forty years of service, his wife Sue is a member of the HM Coastguard, while following in his footsteps, son Robert has been a serving crew member at Beaumaris as was his late son Darren before him.

Captain Marcus Elliott Lifeboat Operations Manager for Llandudno RNLI said:

‘It’s a fantastic effort by Keith, he has been a loyal and diligent crew member for the last 40 years. He has given great service to Llandudno RNLI, and we are immensely proud to honour his achievements.’

Current Coxswain Graham Heritage added:

‘Keith has always been a highly respected member of the team. His knowledge and experience has been passed down to new crew members over the many years of his service. He has always made himself available night or day and has been a valuable asset to Llandudno Lifeboat.’


Media Contacts

For more information, please contact Jonathan Coe, Llandudno Lifeboat Press Officer on 07910 861193. Alternatively contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Media Officer on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390 or email

RNLI/Jonathan Coe

The Tall Ship Kaskelot
Keith supervising the beach recovery of the Llandudno Shannon Class Lifeboat

RNLI/Nigel Millard


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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