Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to be here with you this afternoon to recognise the outstanding achievements of the RNLI’s lifesavers and supporters.
I have always hugely admired people who so selflessly give their time and talents to this great Institution – so I was delighted to accompany my husband, The Prince of Wales, on a visit to Thurso lifeboat stations about three years ago just after our marriage.
I particularly remember Thurso as it was a rather cold and windswept day: – which made it somewhat tricky to board – but we enjoyed a very warm welcome from the crew and many local supporters.
My visit to Anstruther lifeboat station last year proved to be an even more remarkable experience, as the lifeboat crew were called out to a rescue whilst we were being introduced to them!
Seeing them pull on their kit and launch the lifeboat – in what seemed like seconds - into pretty rough seas was quite a sight,
and I couldn’t help but be enormously impressed with their courage, efficiency and skill – especially when I later learned that they went to the aid of an injured woman on the Isle of May, and eventually delivered her to a waiting ambulance.
Such deeds cannot be achieved without the finest training and equipment, for which we must thank the charity’s fundraisers and supporters.
They help to meet the cost of sea rescues, and – like the RNLI’s lifesavers – they do it with such generosity and such spirit and a huge amount of energy.
From time to time, there are acts of outstanding courage and commitment that deserve special recognition, and I feel honoured to be asked to present this afternoon’s awards.
I know it will be a heart-warming occasion, and one I am delighted and proud to share with you today.