Five RNLI volunteers recognised in New Year Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Five volunteers with nearly 200 years of combined service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have been honoured in the New Year Honours list by the lifesaving charity’s Patron, Her Majesty The Queen.


Roger Cohen and his daughter, Jade

They include a lifeguard supervisor, a shop manager and the volunteer behind the RNLI’s first ever LGBT accredited lifeboat station.

For services to the RNLI and charity, those recognised are:

· Martyn Ward, Carrick Lifeguard Supervisor and Deputy Launching Authority/Water Safety Volunteer at St Agnes Lifeboat Station, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

· Roger Cohen, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Brighton Lifeboat Station and Newhaven Lifeboat Station, also receives an MBE

· Jim Mackie, Chair of the Lifeboat Management Group at Southend-on-Sea Lifeboat Station, has also been made an MBE

· Dorothy Charnley, Shop Manager at Blackpool Lifeboat Station, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM)

· David Forshaw, Deputy Launching Authority and Lifeboat Press Officer at Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station, has also received a BEM

RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie said: ‘2021 has been another summer like no other for the RNLI, with more and more people flocking to the UK and Irish coastlines. Throughout the year, our frontline teams have maintained a 24/7 lifeboat rescue service, our lifeguards have delivered a seasonal service on 247 beaches, our water safety teams have helped keep the public safe, and our fundraising and engagement teams have made sure the vital donations keep coming in to fund these essential lifesaving services.

‘I am delighted to see some of our volunteers from across the whole RNLI recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for their significant contribution to saving lives at sea this year. These five RNLI people embody the charity’s values of selflessness, courage, dependability and trustworthiness in everything they do, and it is particularly pleasing to see one of our longstanding lifeguards recognised in the 20th anniversary year of the RNLI lifeguard service.

‘On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, my congratulations to you all and my thanks to our thousands of other volunteers who go above and beyond for our lifesaving charity every day of the year.’

Martyn Ward has been an integral part of the lifesaving community on the Cornish coast ever since he got his first job as a lifeguard in 1977, firstly with Carrick District Council Lifeguard Service before the RNLI took it over in 2002 when he was appointed Lifeguard Supervisor. Since then he has been involved in thousands of rescues, often putting his safety at risk to save others.

Under his supervision, the RNLI lifeguard team has dealt with more than 22,000 incidents and saved thousands of lives. Martyn was also a cadet at the St Agnes Surf Life Saving Club in the late 60s and continues to volunteer for the club where he has trained more than 200 people.

Outside of lifeguarding, Martyn has been the volunteer Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) at RNLI St Agnes since 2006. In 2015, he took on another volunteer role as Water Safety Officer, developing prevention programmes to educate people about the dangers in and around water.

Martyn said: ‘I’d like to accept this award, not just for myself, but also on behalf of the community; for all of those who over the years have contributed in making our seas, coast and beaches safer, whether they’re a member of the public giving others safety advice, our Coastguard team, on our RNLI lifeboats, an RNLI lifeguard or a Surf Life Saving Club member, voluntary and professional side-by-side.

‘Lifesaving and helping to deliver a top-class lifeguard service whilst still contributing to sea safety has been my life’s ambition.’

During Roger Cohen’s 39 years of service at Brighton and Newhaven lifeboat stations, he’s been involved in 2,260 lifeboat launches resulting in 248 lives saved. He joined Brighton RNLI in 1982, serving as crew and helm for 18 years and as crew at Tower – the RNLI’s busiest lifeboat station on the River Thames – for 13 years.

The 66-year-old then stepped into the shoes of Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) and, under his leadership, Brighton became the first station to take part in a Pride Parade and subsequently Roger led Brighton to becoming the first of the RNLI’s 238 lifeboat stations to be LGBT accredited.

He became LOM at neighbouring Newhaven in 2019.

Roger said: ‘I am humbled and overwhelmed to have been given this title. The RNLI has played a huge part in my life for many years and I’m so grateful for the continued support of my partner and family.

‘Behind every RNLI volunteer is a network of loved ones keeping everything going while we save lives at sea. Every launch that we’ve undertaken, every chance to bring someone safely home to shore has been a tremendous privilege.’

Jim Mackie, known as ‘Mr Lifeboat’ locally, is a vital cog at the RNLI’s busiest UK coastal station, Southend-on-Sea. Over his 45 years of volunteer service, Jim has helped to raise more than £1M and been involved in nearly 4,000 shouts.

Jim joined Southend RNLI in 1976, hosting visits and talks before taking on a supporting role for the LOM in 1985. More recently, Jim was Chair of the Lifeboat Management Group (LMG), with one of his key achievements being spearheading the fundraising efforts to build a new inshore station at Southend which today houses the D-class lifeboat and hovercraft.

This year Jim will be retiring from voluntary service but not before ensuring he has recruited a successor.

LOM at Southend, Graham Slack said: 'As a station we are delighted that Jim’s achievements have been recognised. He has been a longstanding member of the team at Southend and his dedication and enthusiasm to the role is seen by everyone.’

Dorothy Charnley, 88, can regularly be heard saying ‘if I’m giving less than 110%, please let me know’. She has successfully run the RNLI Blackpool Shop for 23 years and was instrumental in creating an education centre at the site, enabling thousands of visitors to learn about water safety. During this time, she has mentored more than 100 volunteers, given 4,000+ voluntary days in the shop and led her team in raising more than £1M.

With the shop closing during lockdown, Dorothy used the time to recruit new volunteers. She also turned her skills to supporting the station in other ways; helping to raise £52,000 towards a new D-class lifeboat.

Dorothy said: ‘It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be a volunteer for the RNLI these past 24 years. You meet so many wonderful people from all over the world and all over the British Isles. Most of them come in as friends because they have seen the rescues or have been rescued themselves.’

A volunteer for 37 years, David Forshaw has demonstrated commitment and dedication to the community in Lytham St Annes. Now a DLA, his contribution to operational and fundraising activities has had a major impact on the RNLI’s lifesaving effect on the Fylde coast.

He also works as the station’s Press Officer with his writing and photography skills making a significant contribution to the RNLI’s profile in Lancashire. His strong relationship with the media has been a key contributor to many fundraising successes, including the Shannon Appeal which raised £300,000. Through digital channels and with his compassionate tone, he has also helped to deliver essential water safety messaging. These digital initiatives alone supported the fundraising branch in raising more than £100,000 in 2020.

David said: ‘It was with great surprise to find out I’ve been recommended for this honour and is somewhat embarrassing that it’s for something I have enjoyed doing in the great organisation that is the RNLI. I am grateful for the support given by my wife, Sue, my family, and all my colleagues at the Lytham St Annes.

‘I’m proud that the honour reflects the outstanding commitment to saving lives at sea by all the volunteers, operational, fundraising and many others at the Lytham St Annes over the years since the station was founded in 1851.’

Notes to editors

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

· To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit:


Jim Mackie (centre)


Dorothy Charnley


David Forshaw

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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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.