Celebration evening for crew at Largs RNLI
RNLI volunteers joined Ronnie Copeland and his family for a celebration as he marked the end of nearly 50 years of service where he was instrumental in saving 296 lives at sea.
The awards ceremony finally took place on Friday 7 October 2022, after being postponed for almost two years due to the pandemic, marking him switching off his pager and stepping down from his operational role within the RNLI.
During his 49 years, Ronnie undertook the roles of Inshore Lifeboat Crew, Shore Crew and Deputy Launch Authority and was instrumental in saving 296 lives at sea. Many of these have left him wondering what would have happened had the RNLI not been there.
Reflecting on his exceptional service with Largs RNLI, Ronnie explained the biggest changes he witnessed have been in relation to the modernisation of the lifesaving equipment and the implementation of new techniques and technology.
Describing the crew, he spoke fondly of the level of trust you place in each other and the banter that goes along with the extended family relationships on station. He also wanted to thank his wife and family for their ever-present support as he dashed off each time his pager sounded.
During the evening, Ronnie was presented with a framed Certificate of Service from the RNLI’s Chief Executive Mark Dowie and a RNLI watch to commemorate his service.
Ronnie has not quite left the lifeboat family behind as he is still active in both Fundraising and Water Safety for Largs RNLI, and will hopefully continue sharing his immense knowledge and experience with people for many years to come.
John Griffiths, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Largs RNLI, said: ‘On behalf of everyone at the lifeboat station I would like to thank Ronnie for the contribution he has made. His time, effort and commitment over the past 49 years has been outstanding and I am delighted he is still actively supporting the Fundraising and Water Safety Teams at the station.’
Ronnie’s presentation was not the only one of the evening with crew members receiving Platinum Jubilee medals and four members of the volunteer crew were presented with Commendations from John Payne, Director of Lifesaving Operations.
Keeping it in the family, Ronnie’s son-in-law Andrew Anderson along with Brian Rankin, Jennifer Flavell and Gordon Kennedy were presented with Commendations following the tasking on April 22 2022 where the R.A Wilson was launched in challenging weather conditions to rescue two paddleboarders who were in difficulty at the North end of Little Cumbrae. The Commendations recognised the dedication and service of the four volunteer crew members during this challenging service.
Largs RNLI crew is comprised entirely of volunteers who are on call 24/7 to respond when needed to help save lives at sea. It is rare to have so many of the crew together to celebrate an event, everyone enjoyed this celebration evening which took place at the Brisbane House Hotel in Largs.
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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