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Rare double award for Little & Broad Haven RNLI fundraisers

Lifeboats News Release

Little & Broad Haven Fundraising Branch members Mary Whitewright and Ken Ainge have recently been notified that there lifelong service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is to be further recognised by the highest RNLI award of all.

Mary and Ken’s appointment as an Honorary Life Governor is to be confirmed at an awards ceremony in Swansea on Friday (30 September). The honour is the highest bestowed on non-crew volunteers by the Institution and it is incredibly rare for two people to be awarded it from the same RNLI fundraising branch at the same time.

Mary has given over 40 years’ service and was one of the founding members of the branch – then called the Ladies Guild - at Little & Broad Haven when it started back in 1975. She was firstly asked to raise money for a scanner for the crew which cost around £200, she was successful and managed to raise the entire amount over the single weekend. Ever since she has continued in the same vein.

Ken has totalled up an amazing 47 years as a branch member, starting way back in 1969 at Brierley Hill & Kingswinford, West Midlands, and moving to Little and Broad Haven in 2005. Ken’s first involvement and knowledge of the RNLI was being treasurer at Brierley Hill & Kingswinford and while he will admit he did not love this role, he loved everything the RNLI stood for and wanted to remain a part of the organisation.

When asked what has kept Mary going in her role as a member of a branch, which has raised over £513,000 since 1975, she said ‘I recognised that the RNLI is such an amazing institution and having the lifeboat as part of the community was such an honour I wanted to remain a part of it.’

‘When I found out I was receiving the award I was immensely proud. It is one of the biggest achievements I have managed in my personal life.’

Ken had the same feelings and also said that he was over the moon and never expect to receive this award.

Jen Abell, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager, said: ‘Being awarded an Honorary Life Governor award is a huge honour – the highest a fundraiser can be given – and means Ken and Mary are now granted life membership by the RNLI Board as recognition of exceptional service to the Institution. Few are more deserving than Ken and Mary and for branch at a small station like Little and Broad Haven to have raised more than half a million pounds for the charity since the 1970s is a remarkable achievement. They both have my full congratulations.’

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Matthew Ford, Little and Broad Haven Lifeboat Press Officer on 07478 637237 or email matthewford25@me.com.

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 over 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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.