Queen’s award to Portsmouth lifeboat crew interrupted by rescue call

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI volunteer crews are always ready to respond to save lives at sea – even if that means disrupting a ceremony when they are being presented on station with awards for their service!

RNLI/Miranda Dawson

That was the situation earlier in the summer when members of the Portsmouth crew were being presented with new commemorative medals to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. While the ceremony was taking place the lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard and one of the medal recipients – newly qualified helm Kim Dugan – left the proceedings and led a crew on the station’s D-class lifeboat to the rescue.

Fortunately the call proved to be a false alarm – someone feared two adults had been cut off by the tide but they turned out to be paddleboarders who didn’t require assistance – but it demonstrated how the volunteer crew at Portsmouth are always ready to launch.

The ceremony was then able to continue for the volunteers who collectively have served the RNLI for more than 200 years. For eight of the volunteers, this wasn’t their first Jubilee Medal; Colin Beeston and Justin Strain received the Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and along with fellow volunteers David Spencer, James Seed, John Shaw, Neal Chadwick, Peter Slidel, and Simon Matthews, received the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Portsmouth Deputy Launch Authority (DLA) Alex Lochrane said of Kim: ‘Kim is always so calm and methodical, even when launching on her first shout in command of the D-class in front of the assembled crowd of family and friends. She’s a brilliant example of what the RNLI does best; ordinary people doing extraordinary things’!

Richard Butler, Portsmouth RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) said: ‘The occasion was a wonderful opportunity to bring all the volunteers together, something that hasn’t been possible for quite some time. Our volunteers work closely together, in often challenging conditions, so events like this are an integral part of RNLI family life.

A big thanks must be extended to all those who helped prepare and run the day, and also to the RNLI Families Programme that helped fund the occasion for our volunteers and their loved ones’.

The medals were presented by Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, during a special event hosted at Portsmouth RNLI for family and friends.

The celebrations were all the more special for two Portsmouth RNLI crewmembers who were celebrating Father’s Day for the first time. Jesse Biggs (2 1/2 weeks old) and Alannah Finch (3 1/2 weeks old) were presented with baby welcome gifts from their Portsmouth RNLI family along with their proud parents; crew member Jake Biggs and partner Leah Harvey, and crew member/mechanic Harrison Finch and wife and former crew member Rachel.

Following the presentations, guests of the volunteers had the chance to look around the station.

Portsmouth RNLI volunteers to receive the Platinum Jubilee Medal are: Aaron Gent, Alexander Lochrane, Alice White, Anthony Lewis, Colin Beeston, David Spencer, Gareth Davies, Harrison Finch, Harry Eaton, James Seed, John Shaw, Justin Strain, Katie Baker, Kim Dugan, Lyndon Gadd, Martin Icke, Sam Hepplewhite, Nathan Ruddell, Neal Chadwick, Neil Maxwell, Pete Slidel, Simon Matthews.

Ends

Photo: Members of the Portsmouth Lifeboat crew with their medals

Note for Editors:

Details for Kim Dugan being appointed as the station’s first female helm can be found here: https://rnli.org/news-and-media/2022/june/23/kim-dugan-becomes-first-female-helm-at-portsmouth-rnli-aged-only-25

RNLI Media contacts

Pippa Saunders Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer, Portsmouth Lifeboat Station (07531) 691452 [email protected]

Miranda Dawson, Lifeboat Press Officer, Portsmouth Lifeboat Station (07447) 986777 [email protected]

Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 [email protected]

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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 or by email.

The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland.

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.