A royal visitor for volunteers at RNLI stations

The Duke of Kent with RNLI volunteers at Newbiggin.
The Duke of Kent with RNLI volunteers at Newbiggin.

Lifeboat stations in south east Northumberland have been visited by royalty.

The Duke of Kent visited RNLI stations at Blyth and Newbiggin, as his role as RNLI president.

He also visited Craster and Berwick-upon-Tweed, and had a tour of the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh and managed to fit in an unscheduled visit to Seahouses RNLI.

During his time in Northumberland, the Duke met volunteer crew and fundraisers and learned more about their vital work. He also received a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of each boathouse and viewed the lifeboats.

At Seahouses, The Duke witnessed the volunteer crew in action after they were called out to help a kitesurfer in difficulty.

During his visit to the RNLI Grace Darling Museum he chatted to the volunteers who keep it open to the public throughout the year.

His Royal Highness presented several RNLI awards during his visits.

Martin Browell, volunteer Helmsman at Craster RNLI, received an award for twenty years of dedicated service to the charity that saves lives at sea, as did Paul Armstrong, volunteer Helmsman at Newbiggin RNLI.

Awards were also presented to Joyce Ross from Berwick-upon-Tweed RNLI guild and Elsie Holgeth from Blyth RNLI guild.

Elsie was presented with a gold badge in recognition of her unwavering dedication and energy to fundraising, which has seen her raise thousands of pounds for the charity since joining the guild in 1977.

Andy Clift, RNLI regional operations manager, said: “His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent took a real interest in each volunteer and their individual roles within the charity. It meant a great deal for them to be able to meet him.

“It was also fitting that His Royal Highness presented the special awards to the volunteers. It seemed the perfect way to thank them for their dedicated service.”