RNLI lifeboat crew and fundraisers alike were rewarded for their services to maritime safety in the twice-yearly awards, which recognise an individual’s contribution to society.
In her ten years as a volunteer, Virginia has personally organised a number of events that have raised over £400,000 for the RNLI, enabling the charity’s volunteer crews to be properly equipped and trained when they head out to sea.
In 2012, she organised a ‘Ten Years on the Thames’ dinner at The Dorchester, an event that raised a staggering £125,000 in just one evening. And more recently, she was able to gain permission for the RNLI to fundraise outside the Royal Albert Hall during a Mark Knopfler concert, reaching over 5,000 people.
A natural leader with a passion for the charity that saves lives at sea, Virginia has been recognised for her ‘drive and unstinting efforts’, and for being ‘an inspirational and highly charismatic volunteer fundraiser’.
Meanwhile, other volunteers from the charity have also been recognised for their selfless commitment. Donald Macleod, Coxswain of Barra Island Lifeboat Station in Scotland, has been awarded an MBE for his ‘inspirational leadership, clear thinking and endurance of the highest order.’ Located on the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides, Donald and his crew are routinely confronted by extreme sea and weather conditions, and the station perform some of the most difficult and dangerous rescues that the charity’s lifesavers face.
RNLI Vice Chairman and Trustee Charles Hunter-Pease receives an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for his ‘decisive and enduring contribution’ in helping guide the charity through a Continuous Improvement programme. A modest, inspirational leader, Charles has been involved with the charity since 1996, and will take over from Admiral the Lord Boyce when he retires as Chairman in early July.
Churchwarden Diana Porter, 77, from the North Cotswold RNLI Fundraising Branch, receives the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her generosity and desire to help others, supporting not just the RNLI but Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Nurses and Kate’s Carers, too. As Chair of the North Cotswold RNLI Fundraising Branch, Diana has led a team of no fewer than 150 volunteers and has raised almost £200,000, despite the considerable distance to their nearest lifeboat station.
A number of individuals with connections to the RNLI have also been honoured with MBE’s. Dr Mike Hersant, Lifeboat Medical Advisor at Penlee Lifeboat Station, has been recognised for services to the community in Penzance, Cornwall. Capt. Rod Shaw, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Harwich Lifeboat Station, is honoured for services to Maritime Safety. Meanwhile, Iain Rankin is commended for his commitment to both Fraserburgh Lifeboat Station and his local Scout group, and Lesley Purchase, a fundraising volunteer from Shropshire, has been recognised for her unfaltering commitment to her local church and the NSPCC, as well as the RNLI.
RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier said: ‘We are delighted to see many of our volunteers in this year's Birthday Honours List. Volunteers are at the heart of our organisation and come from many walks of life, but are united by one common goal - to save lives at sea. It is wonderful to see such commitment and dedication rewarded by our patron Her Majesty The Queen.’
RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact:
• Kirsti Pawlowski, RNLI Public Relations Officer on 01202 336789 / 07747 768799 or by email at email@example.com
Notes to editors
• Attached photographs show Charles Hunter-Pease at the RNLI Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset. (For a hi-res version, please contact the Press Office) and Donald MacLeod, Coxswain at Barra Island Lifeboat Station.
• The Order of the British Empire recognises distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organisations of all kinds. There are five grades, as well as the recently added British Empire Medal (BEM)
o Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GBE)
o Knight Commander or Dame Commander (KBE or DBE)
o Commander (CBE)
o Officer (OBE)
o Member (MBE)