Local lifeboat volunteers to receive awards

FOUR Berwickshire residents and a local fundraising branch are to be presented with an Honorary Award by the RNLI in recognition of their outstanding support to the charity.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 10:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 10:36 am

The January 21 issue of 'The Berwickshire News' featured a story on Margaret Driscoll from Burnmouth in recognition of her being awarded the title of Honorary Life Governor, the highest honour bestowed by the charity upon fundraising volunteers.

She was selected for the accolade after putting in over half a century of hard work as the secretary of the Burnmouth RNLI branch. Her many responsibilities have included organising the annual Burnmouth Brae Races - the branch's main fundraising activity.

But Margaret, who was previously awarded the RNLI gold badge, isn't the only Berwickshire local being honoured by the RNLI.

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J. Nigel Fuller-Shapcott of Duns and District Branch has been awarded the silver badge as has Barbara Watson of the St Abbs branch, who has been involved with the RNLI for the past 30 years.

Bob Clay of the same branch has been awarded a Certificate of Thanks for over a decade of hard work.

And St Abbs branch has been singled out for its hard work and will be rewarded with the RNLI branch award.

The branch raised close to 11,500 for the RNLI last year and fundraising committee member Angus Skeene said he was blown away by the support from such a small rural community.

He commented: "Our main fundraising event is our annual Lifeboat Gala Day which we hold in the last Saturday of July every year. Last year's event raised 4600 which is fantastic when you think that there are only 112 on the electoral roll in St Abbs.

"And on top of that money a further 7000 was raised from people doing the Great North Run; a guy doing a bungee jump off the Forth Bridge and donations from a number of groups including the Merse Singers.

"We had an amazing year and it's fantastic that our efforts have been recognised. 1000 has been raised already this year so we're hoping 2010 will be another good year.

The Berwickshire representatives are amongst a total of 101 volunteers from around Scotland who have been invited to attend the RNLI Scottish Annual Meeting at Perth Concert Hall on Friday June 11, where they will be presented with their awards by Dunbar RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Gary Fairburn.

The ceremony is part of an age-old tradition recognising the invaluable commitment of the lifesaving charity's volunteers and the fundraisers will be joined by RNLI lifeboat crews from Kirkwall and Dunbar who are to be presented with gallantry awards for their roles in rescues in 2009.

Isla Dewar, fundraising and communications manager for the RNLI in Scotland commented: "It would be impossible for the RNLI to provide its lifesaving service at sea without the dedication and commitment of volunteers. There are over 4,500 fundraising volunteers across Scotland who help the charity raise the money needed to train and equip our lifeboat crews. Volunteers rarely get the recognition they deserve which is why the RNLI holds an annual award ceremony to thank them, for helping us to provide one of the best lifesaving services in the world."