Donate now

Dungeness RNLI volunteer recognised in King’s Birthday Honours

Lifeboats News Release

Judith Richardson is one of three Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers that has been recognised in His Majesty The King’s Birthday Honours for her role in helping the charity save lives at sea.


Judith Richardson

During her 56 years of service to the charity, Judith has held several roles at Dungeness Lifeboat Station. The wife of former coxswain, William Richardson, she started at the age of 20 as one of the charity’s last lady launchers – the team of women who helped to launch the lifeboat until 1977.

In 1967, she also embraced the fundraising and water safety education roles, taking the charity’s water safety roadshow around the country with her husband. She stepped down from her most recent role as volunteer lifeboat press officer last year, informing the media every time the lifeboat launches, but she is still involved with the station to this day.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie said: ‘Volunteers are the heart of the RNLI and make up the vast majority of our people. It is incredible to think that one of them started with us when the RNLI was still manually launching Watson class lifeboats off Dungeness beach – few active volunteers have witnessed such significant changes in lifesaving.’

A dedicated and enthusiastic lifeboat volunteer, Judith has been recognised for her efforts with a British Empire Medal (BEM). She said: ‘I was totally overwhelmed when I received the letter letting me know I was getting this honour.

‘I am so very proud of everything I’ve been involved with in the RNLI – I’ve enjoyed and loved all of it and I just hope along the way I’ve helped to save some lives. I haven’t got the energy that I used to but I’m just as committed as I ever was to this wonderful charity.’

If you are interested in volunteering for Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Station, we have a number or roles available both afloat and shore based. Please contact the station on 01797 320317 or [email protected] if you would like to take on a new challenge and become part of the charity that saves lives at sea.

Notes to Editors

· Dungeness lifeboat station has been running since 1826.

· The station received the first Shannon-class lifeboat in the RNLI fleet – The Morrell

· The station is famous for its Lady Launchers, local women and wives of the crew who helped launch the lifeboat in the 1950s.


RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Sarah Beck, Dungeness Lifeboat Press Officer on [email protected] or 07956 615429, Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 or [email protected] or alternatively, Regional Media Manager Julie Rainey on 07827 358256 or [email protected]. RNLI Press Office is available 24/7 365 days a year on 01202 336789.


Judith, centre, in her role as Lady Launcher in 1970 dragging on of dozens of wooden planks into place to allow Dungeness Lifeboat to launch


Judith Richardson, third from the left, receiving her framed letter of thanks for her time as a Lady Launcher

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.