A Bembridge RNLI fundraiser who has dedicated years of her life to helping save lives at sea through charity work has been honoured with a prestigious award from the RNLI.
Jill Snell received a bronze award from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in the charity’s south east regional awards ceremony, which was held at the RNLI’s headquarters in Poole, Dorset on Saturday.
Jill, 73, of Woodland Grove, is Flag Week Organiser for the fundraising branch, Bembridge Guild, and has organised the event since she joined the guild in May 2004. The RNLI south east awards ceremony is an annual event held to pay tribute to those who give up their time to help raise the voluntary contributions that the RNLI relies upon to continue saving lives at sea.
Sally Hilton, Fundraising and Communications Manager for the RNLI south east, said: ‘Jill is a relatively new addition to the Bembridge Guild, but has proved to be a dedicated, valuable member of the fundraising team. She takes great pride in organising the annual flag week event, which helps raise funds for the RNLI.
‘As an island community, people on the Isle of Wight are well aware of the importance of the RNLI – we have lifeboat stations at Cowes, Yarmouth and Bembridge. In addition, the RNLI’s entire fleet of inshore lifeboats – smaller craft more suited to close-quarter rescue efforts – are built and serviced in East Cowes, at the RNLI’s Inshore Lifeboat Centre.’
Volunteer lifeboat crew members from Selsey RNLI lifeboat station in West Sussex, Max Gilligan and Colin Pullinger, were at the ceremony to congratulate Jill and other award recipients, while Martin Rudwick, Coxswain at the station, was presenting the awards this year.
Martin said: ‘The awards ceremony is all about thanking those volunteers who have given away their own time and consistently shown immense support for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
‘I was honoured to be asked because this is one side of the RNLI’s work that we, as crew, don’t always get to see; the time and effort spent on raising funds than enable us to launch our lifeboats in the first place.’
Sally added: ‘The awards recognise a variety of achievements among our dedicated volunteer supporters – whether its planning, actively fundraising, coordinating branch finances, or just for sheer dedication to the charity over time. As a charity we could not continue saving lives if it were not for volunteers who do their best to raise the vital funds we need.’
The awards took place just as the RNLI’s volunteer fundraisers and lifeboat crew members prepare for the onset of summer, which traditionally sees an increase in the number of callouts to assist people in difficulty on or near the water.
Last summer, lifeboats from 22 RNLI lifeboats stations in the south east region launched a total of 636 times (between June and August 2009). To find out more about the RNLI or how you can support the charity, log on to www.rnli.org.uk