RNLI volunteers and staff recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers and staff have been recognised in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours for their roles in helping the charity save lives at sea.
A former engineering director whose manufacturing initiatives have facilitated significant savings, a long-serving crew member and water safety lead braving icy showers every day for a year, a fishing safety stalwart, and a fundraiser whose efforts have brought in nearly £720,000 in the past six years alone are amongst those who have been recognised by the RNLI’s Patron for their incredible contributions to the charity.
RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie said: ‘In this Platinum Jubilee year, it is especially pleasing to see both RNLI volunteers and staff from across five of our lifesaving regions recognised in The Queen’s Birthday Honours list.’
‘Between them, these six individuals have amassed a remarkable 196 years of service across a variety of roles from sea-going crew and water safety campaigner to engineering director and fundraising champion, all playing a vital part in saving lives at sea.’
‘2021 was one of our busiest years on record with our lifesavers rescuing and assisting 53,665 people and saving 408 lives. This is only made possible by the selfless commitment of all our volunteers and staff across the UK and Ireland.’
‘My congratulations and thanks go to all six recipients and our thousands of other volunteers and staff who work tirelessly to deliver our essential lifesaving services in our mission to save every one.’
Volunteer and staff member Guy Addington eagerly joined the lifeboat crew at Margate in 1994 as soon as he turned 17, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
Now, after 27 years with the institution, he has been awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his efforts saving lives at sea directly as a crew member, in his role as water safety lead for the South East, and his unique year-long fundraiser.
Since September 2021, Guy has been taking freezing cold showers in his back garden come rain, snow, sleet or shine, and is aiming to raise £10,000 for the RNLI.
Guy said: ‘I work for the RNLI because I’m passionate about what we do. I’m proud of the organisation, and I’d like to think I’ve been involved in something that’s made a difference.’
‘I’m delighted and proud to have been considered for this accolade.’
As a volunteer crew member, he has launched 326 times on service, 320 times on exercise, aided 378 people and saved 13 lives, and as water safety lead has overseen the launch and development of many lifesaving initiatives.
‘It’s my birthday this weekend, as well as being the Platinum Jubilee, so it’s going to be pretty special,’ Guy added. ‘I’ll be relieved because I’ll be able to tell my mum at last.’
Also awarded an MBE is former engineering and supply director, Angus Watson, who retired from his full-time role last October after 30 years’ service.
First joining as volunteer crew at Invergordon Lifeboat Station, he quickly immersed himself in station life from operational duties to supporting fundraising activities.
This voluntary frontline experience laid solid foundations for joining the RNLI staff in 1996, a move which would lead Angus to be involved in many significant projects including bringing the production of Shannon class lifeboats in-house and the Severn Life Extension Project (SLEP).
Bringing all-weather lifeboat production in-house has saved the institution around £10M since 2016, and SLEP will ensure the largest and most powerful class of RNLI lifeboat can keep saving lives at sea for another 25 years, while also making a saving on the cost of designing and building a brand-new class and being far more environmentally friendly.
Angus said: ‘This award is the pinnacle of my career. When you turn your passion of being a lifeboat crew member into a rewarding career and then that's topped off with recognition from The Queen, it’s very special.’
‘The award is in my name, but it represents the efforts and talent of the entire engineering and supply team. I hope that we’ve done some good and influenced the history and the future of the RNLI.’
In recognition of her incredible fundraising efforts for Torbay lifeboats, Lynn Spillett has been awarded an MBE for voluntary services to the RNLI.
In her 16 years of fundraising for the Brixham Lifeboat Guild – now Torbay Lifeboat Fundraisers – she has organised over 2,500 events, raising more than £718,000 in the past six years.
Always conjuring up clever ideas to raise vital funds for the charity, during the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 she turned her hand to virtual fundraising. Her ‘lose-5lbs-for-£5 activity’ raised £75,000 alone in a year when many other community fundraising efforts ceased.
Lynn said: ‘I still can’t believe that I’m getting an award for doing something that I love.’
‘The RNLI has always been close to my heart, and I was fortunate enough to be able to retire early to become the chair of my local fundraising group. I could see the potential of what we could do.’
‘It’s an amazing feeling to be receiving this recognition for doing something I’m so passionate about.’
Part of the fabric of the RNLI on the Isle of Lewis, John J MacLennan has been an integral part of the organisation’s lifesaving in the Outer Hebrides for more than 50 years, serving as sea-going crew, deputy launching authority and now chair of the Lifeboat Management Group at Stornoway. He has been awarded an MBE for his services.
A devoted ambassador for the RNLI, he helps maintain a positive presence in the Western Isles as a community presenter, raising awareness and funds for his local volunteers and the wider RNLI.
John said: ‘I am both genuinely moved and surprised that people consider me worthy for nomination for this honour.’
‘I am accepting the award on behalf of all of the Stornoway Lifeboat Station team, past and present, in recognition of their professionalism, dedication and commitment to the RNLI.’
‘The Stornoway Lifeboat is deeply woven into the very fabric of our island community and I wish the coxswain, crew, guild members and supporters continued success.’
Isle of Man resident and former volunteer at RNLI Peel Lifeboat Station, Frankie Horne, has also been awarded an MBE for services to the RNLI and safety at sea.
Frankie served as volunteer crew and coxswain at Peel Lifeboat Station between 1991 and late 2019 during which he received multiple commendations, including the Thanks of the Institution on Vellum in recognition of the courageous personal risks he took when he was transferred from the lifeboat Ruby Clery to the swamped fishing vessel Three Sisters, and pulled three people to safety as the vessel suddenly rolled over and began to sink on 17 October 1994.
A former fisherman, Frankie ran his own fishing vessel until 2008 when he joined the RNLI fishing safety team to deliver essential training to the commercial fishing industry across the British Isles and Ireland. He has greatly contributed to the reduction in fishing fatalities by drowning through the design, development and free distribution of a dedicated deck wear life jacket, and has bought several groups to the RNLI’s Sea Survival Centre in Poole to give them a first-hand experience of the benefits of wearing a personal floatation device.
Frankie said: ‘It is a great honour to receive this award. I consider it an absolute privilege to have served on the crew at Peel Lifeboat Station and am always humbled by the amazing support the RNLI receives from across the Isle of Man community.’
‘Behind the scenes of these individual awards there is always a team of others who deserve equal recognition, such as the volunteers and colleagues who make the work we do happen.’
‘I can’t praise them enough for their tireless efforts in making leisure and commercial activity on the water safer for everyone.’
Frankie instigated the rollout of the RNLI’s Swim Safe programme across the island and continues to volunteer with others to support this water safety initiative. Last summer, he was presented with a Merchant Navy medal for meritorious conduct by HRH The Princess Royal on Tynwald Day, the Isle of Man’s national day.
Volunteer Patricia Browne has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her 42 years of service to the RNLI.
First joining the institution in 1979 at Portaferry, County Down, shortly before the town’s lifeboat station was officially established in 1980, Patricia has held the position of chair of the Portaferry Fundraising Branch for 27 years.
She said: ‘I am honoured and delighted to be selected for this prestigious award.’
‘With a family that frequently swim, paddleboard, fish and sail, it is reassuring to know that the competent and brave crews of the RNLI are there if the need arises.’
'I greatly appreciate this opportunity to pay tribute to them, to our fundraising team and the people who support us.’
Under her leadership, the Portaferry Fundraising Branch has raised over £221k for the RNLI in the last 10 years. With an effervescent personality, she is the driving force behind the branch, bringing out the best in her fellow members.
Also recognised is RNLI Clinical Operations Manager Richard Faulkner, who is being admitted into the Order of St John for services to event communication and clinical development for his work with St John Ambulance.
Notes to editors
- Pictures are available to download here:
- For more information on how to volunteer for the RNLI, go to RNLI.org/support-us/volunteer
- To donate to the RNLI, go to RNLI.org/GoDonate
For more information please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected]
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.