Royal welcome for New Brighton RNLI

On Thursday, 23 May, His Majesty the King granted permission for a garden party at Buckingham Palace in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Long-serving crew member Andy Liston was invited to attend the garden party on behalf of New Brighton RNLI.

The RNLI 200th Anniversary Garden Party was held by HRH The Princess Royal, accompanied by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and HRH The Duke of Kent.

The Duke of Kent has been President of the RNLI since 1969 during which time volunteer lifeboat crews and beach lifeguards have saved more than 51,000 lives. Sir Tim Laurence is also a Vice President of the lifesaving charity and former Deputy Chair.

The garden party brought together around 2,500 of the RNLI’s long-serving volunteers, staff and their families, as well as featuring an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat in the palace grounds.

Andy Liston, from New Brighton RNLI, attending the party in his 20th year of service for the RNLI. He has held numerous roles in this time, acting as shore crew, boat crew, hovercraft crew, hovercraft mechanic and launch authority.

In reaching such a memorable milestone, Andy has, this year, received his 20 Year Service Award. Ian Thornton, Lifeboat Operations Manager at New Brighton, had also been invited, but was unable to attend due to injury

Andy said, “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the RNLI and I am very proud to have represented New Brighton on the Wirral. The station boasts an incredibly rich history and many firsts.

“The whole team and everybody connected with New Brighton RNLI are truly dedicated lifesaving professionals and I am proud of every one of them.

“It was very nice to see the Princess Royal again, as during the last visit of the tall ships to Liverpool, I was the RN Coxswain that piped her aboard and showed her around the docks in the Royal Navy launch.”

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said, “We are incredibly honoured that His Majesty The King has granted permission for the RNLI 200th Anniversary Garden Party to take place at Buckingham Palace in celebration of 200 years of saving lives at sea.

“Our hosts, The Princess Royal, The Duke of Kent and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, have been hugely supportive of our charity over many decades and it will be a huge honour and privilege for many of our volunteers and staff to meet them.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of the RNLI and I am looking forward to being able to thank them personally, along with their equally dedicated families and our long-serving staff members, for their courage and commitment to saving lives.”

Head of Volunteering at the RNLI Donna McReath said, “I would like to thank each and every one of our incredible volunteers.

“We couldn’t do what we do without their vital support and the time and effort they generously dedicate in a wide variety of roles, from lifesaving crew to fundraisers and those who volunteer in our shops, museums or by sharing our water safety messaging.

“They are all lifesavers, and this special Garden Party is a wonderful opportunity to recognise and celebrate the joy and impact of volunteering for the RNLI. We are always looking for new volunteers to join our charity to help us continue saving lives at sea.”

Since the RNLI was founded on 4 March 1824, following an appeal to the nation from Sir William Hillary, the charity has saved more than 146,277 lives – this equates to an average of two lives saved every day for 200 years.

Today, the RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, and has seasonal lifeguards on around 240 lifeguarded beaches around the UK.

Image: Andy Liston on the lawn at Buckingham Palace. Credit: RNLI/Andy Liston

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