Penlee RNLI volunteer recognised in King’s New Year Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Rosalie Whitlock, a fundraising volunteer at Penlee RNLI, who has dedicated over 52 years to helping the charity save lives at sea, has been been recognised in His Majesty The King’s New Year Honours for their roles in helping the charity save lives at sea.


Rosalie Whitlock BEM Penlee RNLI

Rosalie Whitlock the Fundraising Secretary at Penlee Lifeboat Station is awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM). Rosalie has been an integral part of the RNLI lifesaving community in Penlee, Mousehole and Newlyn since joining as a fundraiser in 1970 with a collection box on the main street of Penzance.

She quickly became Honorary Fundraising Secretary at Penlee, a position she has held for 48 years and a position she continues to carry out with energy and enthusiasm to this day. She then began selling souvenirs from a weekly table top stall in the town car park before having the vision to set up the RNLI’s first shop in Penzance in 1983. She is still the volunteer shop manager, sharing her wealth of experience with other RNLI shops across the South West. Since she joined, the Penlee Fundraising Branch is credited with raising nearly £2 million through souvenir and shop sales and local events.

Rosalie said: ‘I am thrilled and delighted about this award; it’s quite overwhelming, though none of it would have been possible without the team of dedicated volunteers.

‘The RNLI is a wonderful family and one which I am proud to belong to. While I believe one should never look for thanks doing a job that you love, when you get recognition, it really means so much.’

Rosalie also played a pivotal role during the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster when, in December 1981, all eight RNLI crew on the Solomon Browne tragically lost their lives in an attempt to save the crew onboard the Union Star. She organised a team of fundraisers who worked day and night for several weeks taking calls and dealing with the sacks of mail and donations that were arriving daily while also supporting friends and her local community grieving for those lost.

She said: ‘My heart will always be with Penlee, having been through those dark times of the disaster, being there in the aftermath and then slowly helping to build the station up again to what we are today has been a great privilege.’

In total five RNLI volunteers with nearly 240 years of service between them are among those who have been recognised by His Majesty The King for their incredible contribution to the charity and drowning prevention.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie said: ‘In 2022, the RNLI has seen a welcome return to volunteer recognition events following the pandemic, with hundreds being recognised for long service and excellence in volunteering awards. These six individuals represent the icing on the cake as we commemorate the contribution all our people have made in another busy year for our frontline services.

‘I have found you can never make assumptions about the people you meet in all roles within the RNLI; they all have fascinating back-stories and I often leave a visit feeling profoundly humbled. The stories behind these six are no exception, epitomising the RNLI’s values in all they do to save lives at sea. They richly deserve this national recognition – my congratulations to them all.’

Notes to editors

· An image of Rosalie Whitlock, Penlee RNLI Fundraiser is attached please credit RNLI

· For more information on how to volunteer for the RNLI, go to

· To donate to the RNLI, go to

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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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