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Brighton RNLI volunteer awarded MBE after 40 years service.

Lifeboats News Release

Princess Anne presented lifeboat operations manager Roger Cohen with his MBE at Windsor Castle on Tuesday (November 8).

Roger with his MBE


Roger with his MBE

An RNLI volunteer with 40 years voluntary service across London and Sussex has been recognised as an MBE by HRH The Princess Royal.

Roger Cohen is currently lifeboat operations manager at both Brighton and Newhaven RNLI and has previously served as crew and helm with Brighton and Tower lifeboat stations.

Under his leadership, Brighton RNLI became the first LGBT accredited station in the country and was the first to take part in Pride.

Roger found out about his honour in January, but was awarded the MBE in the afternoon session of investitures at Windsor Castle on Tuesday. Other recipients included comedian Adam Hills and Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty.

Roger said: 'It was a surreal day – and one I will never forget.

'Walking through Windsor castle, it is steeped in history and tradition, from the marble throne of Queen Victoria to many priceless paintings; it was an incredible experience and a real honour to be part of it.

'I was able to have a few minutes to talk with Princess Anne during the presentation - we spoke about my time working at Tower lifeboat station on the River Thames.

'She recognised the challenges faced by inner city stations where life goes on around you during rescues and she was incredibly supportive of the work done by volunteers.'

Princess Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence is a Vice President of the RNLI.

Roger added: 'It meant a lot to have my partner Alison – who is treasurer of Brighton RNLI – and my two children Jade and Jack with me on the day.

'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.

'I’ve seen a lot of change over forty years and am proud to be a part of Brighton which has a diverse crew from all walks of life.

'We are a supportive organisation just like an extended family – and the courageous and dependable nature of the crew is one thing that has remained a constant.'

Since joining the RNLI in 1982, Roger has been involved in 2,260 lifeboat launches resulting in 248 lives saved.

He served as crew and helm at Brighton for 18 years and crew at Tower – the RNLI’s busiest station – for 13 years before becoming lifeboat operations manager for Brighton and subsequently taking on the same role at Newhaven.

He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the RNLI and charity.

Roger and his family at Windsor Castle


Roger and his family at Windsor Castle
Roger Cohen on service with the RNLI in 2000


Roger Cohen on service with Brighton RNLI in Lewes following the October 2000 flooding. Several lifeboats, including this D-class were transported into Lewes from Poole to service the disaster.

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.