Richard Spindler, a volunteer of 50 years standing at Weston-super-Mare lifeboat station; Ray Chapman, Coxswain at Skegness lifeboat station; Lady Rose Crossman, President of Berwick-upon-Tweed Fundraising Guild; and Janet Kelly, former Station Manager at Tower lifeboat station, have been awarded MBEs (Member of the Order of the British Empire). David Whiteley, Coxswain at Hoylake lifeboat station, has been awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal). All have been recognised for their contribution to saving lives at sea.
Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, said:
‘I’m incredibly proud to see such well-deserving people recognised in the New Year Honours. The RNLI is full of extraordinary and inspirational people who give up their time to save lives at sea in so many different ways, so to receive such awards illustrates the dedication of Richard, Ray, Lady Rose, Janet and David.’
Richard Spindler, Deputy Launch Authority, Weston-Super-Mare – MBE
As soon as he was old enough, Richard Spindler, now 67, volunteered at Weston-super-Mare lifeboat station. As a 17-year-old, he learnt the skills he needed to save lives on the lifeboat and remained committed to the station and its local community for the next 50 years, earning several bravery awards for rescues in extreme conditions.
During a fierce gale in November 1978, Richard helped rescue three boys and two men trapped in a cave by the rising tide. He braved breaking surf and darkness and was awarded a Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum for his courage. Eight years later he was awarded another Vellum for a similar rescue. He retired as active boat crew in 1996 to take on the role of Deputy Launching Authority and becoming part of the team responsible for launching the lifeboat instead. During his time on the lifeboats, 218 lives were saved by the station’s volunteers.
As a charity, the RNLI depends on donations, and Richard is also a dedicated and enthusiastic fundraiser. He also uses his experiences on the lifeboat to inspire young people and teach them about sea safety.
Richard Spindler said: ‘I’m honoured to receive this award. To me this is an award to the team. Over the years I have served with many lifeboat crew members and I could not have done what I did without them. I have always been proud to be a part of the RNLI and always will be.’
Richard Spindler has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Maritime Safety.
Ray Chapman, Coxswain, Skegness lifeboat station – MBE
As one of the most experienced and longest-serving volunteer lifeboat crew members in the UK, Ray Chapman has saved many people in trouble at sea during his time at Skegness lifeboat station. A launch to a sinking fishing boat in December 2011 was one such occasion when, faced with extreme cold, strong winds and worsening sea conditions, Ray spent nine hours on deck to make sure the fishermen were safe and the tow was successful.
Coxswain since 2012, Ray has spent the last 44 years dedicated to saving lives at sea, whether that’s on board the lifeboat, giving sea safety talks to school children or raising funds for the charity. He is well respected throughout the Lincolnshire town and his fellow crew-members look up to him as a role model.
Ray said: ‘I was flabbergasted when I received the letter – you never expect something like this. It’s an honour to receive the award, but it’s not just for me – I don’t lifeboat on my own, I go out with a whole crew and it’s all about team work.’
Alan Fisher, Skegness Lifeboat Operations Manager, said, ‘When things get sticky out on the water, the other crew look up to him for inspiration because of the wealth of his knowledge’
Ray Chapman has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Maritime Safety.
David Whiteley, Coxswain, Hoylake lifeboat station – BEM
David Whiteley has inspired his crew and the local community with his efforts both as the Coxswain of Hoylake lifeboat and as a successful fundraiser for the RNLI. Since joining the Hoylake lifeboat in 1976, David has dedicated his time and energy to the charity’s fundraising work, including acting as figurehead for an ambitious £2M appeal for a new boathouse. His commitment to fundraising is matched by his devotion to his duties as volunteer lifeboat Coxswain. During his 40 years’ service, including the last 15 years as Coxswain, he has played a vital role in saving over 150 lives at sea.
He takes a leading role in training his fellow volunteers; mentoring his crew and making sure they receive the best opportunities to learn the skills needed to save lives at sea. He has also played a key part in planning the new Hoylake lifeboat station which opened in 2008, and the arrival of its new Shannon class lifeboat in 2014.
For David, the RNLI is a family affair. His father Tank was a volunteer at Hoylake lifeboat station for 55 years and his two sons James and Daniel have served as crew at the same station. His wife Julie and daughter Rosalind are also dedicated fundraisers for the RNLI.
David said: ‘It’s a real privilege to be recognised. The RNLI has been an important part of my, and my family’s, life for the last 40 years, and it’s already a great honour to be part of the lifeboat station. It’s not just me that’s recognised with this award, it’s all the hard work and dedication of the volunteers and crew at the station and in the community.’
David Whiteley has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Maritime Safety.
Lady Rose Crossman, RNLI Fundraising Guild President, Berwick-upon-Tweed – MBE
For 41 years, Lady Rose Crossman has been fundraising for the local RNLI lifeboat station and inspiring others to follow her lead. She has done everything from abseiling down the walls of Bamburgh Castle to serving refreshments at fundraising events.
Lady Rose has been the driving force behind fundraising activities that have been successful despite the tough economic climate and she constantly looks for new and inventive ways to raise money for the charity that saves lives at sea.
Lady Rose is also a major benefactor on the island of Lindisfarne and has supported the wildlife centre for school children and the rebuilding of the town hall, which is named after her in recognition of her support.
Lady Rose Crossman has been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for voluntary services to maritime safety.
Janet Kelly, Station Manager (retired), Tower Lifeboat station, London – MBE
Janet Kelly joined the RNLI in 2001 at an important point in its history. After the Marchioness tragedy, the charity had been asked to provide lifeboats on the Thames – the first time such a service would be on the capital’s river. It was Janet’s tact, diplomacy and hard work that helped to ease the introduction of this lifesaving service to London and she even managed to negotiate the purchase of Tower lifeboat station’s pier location – a key strategic site – for the sum of £1.
Janet was in charge of Tower lifeboat station – the busiest in the UK – from 2001 to 2015, in which time the lifeboat crew launched 10,237 times, helped 3,653 people and saved 254 lives. Janet pioneered the flexible working arrangements that allowed volunteers from all sorts of backgrounds to join the core full time crew and keep the station operational 24 hours, 7 days a week, all year round.
Janet is one of the most highly regarded individuals in the RNLI – an exceptional accolade from a charity with so many extraordinary individuals. Now retired from her role as Station Manager, Janet continues to volunteer for the RNLI.
Janet said: ‘I’m overwhelmend that I’ve even been considered for an award such as this. I was part of a team that started lifeboats in London and the credit should go not just to me, but to the crews, volunteers and our partner emergency services and professional agencies who made it work from day one. Everyone worked so hard and I’m so proud to see that London lifeboats are now part of the lifesaving fabric on the river.’
Janet Kelly has been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Maritime Safety.
Notes to editors
• Full breakdown of awards as follows:
o Richard Spindler, Deputy Launching Authority, RNLI Weston-super-Mare – MBE
o Ray Chapman, Coxswain, RNLI Skegness – MBE
o David Whiteley, Coxswain, RNLI Hoylake – BEM
o Lady Rose Crossman, Fundraising President of Berwick-upon-Tweed RNLI Guild – MBE
o Janet Kelly, Station Manager (rtd), RNLI Tower – MBE
• The British Empire Medal (BEM), recently revived by David Cameron after being phased out during John Major’s term in office, is awarded to people for work in their local community.
• The Member of 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)
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