RNLI lifesavers to be awarded Platinum Jubilee medal

As a token of thanks, 4,500 RNLI volunteers and frontline staff are to be awarded a special commemorative Platinum Jubilee medal in recognition of the 69,212 lives the charity has saved during Her Majesty’s 70-year reign.

The new commemorative medal has been created to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. As well as being awarded to RNLI volunteers and frontline staff, those who serve in the emergency services, prison services and Armed Forces who have completed five years consecutive service will also receive the award.

When Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, she also became patron of the RNLI, continuing a lifesaving legacy left by the charity’s first patron King George IV.

RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie said: “I am delighted to see so many RNLI volunteers and staff being recognised by this prestigious award alongside other frontline members of the emergency services, prison services and the Armed Forces. The Platinum Jubilee medal follows a long history of awarding medals to mark Royal Jubilee celebrations, and this is the fourth medal under Her Majesty The Queen’s reign.

“It is a testament to the selflessness and dependability of our people that many have served the RNLI long enough to have been awarded all four Jubilee medals. My congratulations and thanks go to all the recipients and our thousands of other volunteers and staff who work tirelessly to deliver our essential lifesaving services in our mission to save every one.”

RNLI volunteers wearing the previous Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals. Image: RNLI/Nathan Williams

Throughout her 70-year reign, Her Majesty has officially recognised the efforts made by hundreds of RNLI volunteers towards saving lives at sea in her twice yearly honours lists. But unofficially, Her Majesty has recognised the efforts of hundreds more volunteers in person during all the RNLI events she has attended over the years. Princess Elizabeth conducted her first RNLI station visit to St Helier in Jersey on 27 June 1949.

On 17 July 1972, The Queen became the first reigning monarch to name a lifeboat which took place at Henley-on-Thames. The new all-weather lifeboat joined the relief fleet serving around the coast of the UK and Ireland.

As part of her Silver Jubilee celebrations on 14 July 1977, The Queen attended the naming ceremony of Hartlepool RNLI’s Waveney class all-weather lifeboat The Scout. The lifeboat was provided by the Scout Association, which The Queen is also patron of. The Queen went on to name a number of other lifeboats, including one relief lifeboat named Her Majesty The Queen in 1993. The Queen also named the all-weather lifeboat at Falmouth in 2002 as part of her Golden Jubilee tour of Great Britain followed by the naming of the Plymouth all-weather lifeboat in 2003.

On 28 July 2004, The Queen officially opened the RNLI College in Poole, a centre of training excellence not only for lifeboat crews but for lifeguards too. It was the day 233 lifeboat coxswains and senior helms – one from every RNLI lifeboat station across the UK and Ireland – made RNLI history by coming together in the same place, at the same time, for the first time, to celebrate the auspicious occasion.

Joined by HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and HRH Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent, the Royal Party was given a tour of the college’s training facilities, including a capsize demonstration in the Sea Survival Centre. Her Majesty’s most recent RNLI engagement was in 2013, when the charity’s patron visited St Ives Lifeboat Station.

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