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Rye Harbour RNLI man pulls first pint at opening of refurbished pub

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer manager of Rye Harbour RNLUI lifeboat station was given the honour of pulling the first pint at the reopening of a local pub following a £200,000 refurbishment.

The William the Conqueror in Rye Harbour celebrated its makeover with a reopening event on Thursday 14 April, and Richard Tollett, Lifeboat Operations Manager for the station, was first in line to serve a draught beer.

And to mark the occasion, the Chief Executive of Shepherd Neame, presented a £500 donation to the Friends of Mary Stanford Lifeboat House. The boathouse is a permanent reminder of the tragedy in 1928 when Rye Harbour’s Mary Stanford Lifeboat capsized in heavy seas with the loss of all 17 crew.

Jonathan Neame presented the cheque to Jacqui Stanford, founder and chairman of Friends of Mary Stanford Lifeboat House.

The pub, overlooking the River Rother, reopened after being closed for five weeks during the refurbishment. Local dignitaries and residents were also invited to the launch celebration.

Richard joined the crew at Rye Harbour in 1968, and his years of dedicated service were recognised by the RNLI in 2013 with the presentation of a Bar to his Gold Badge, the second highest award made by the charity.

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland