Saturday, 20 August 2022

Four honoured for years of dedicated service to RNLI

FOUR members of the Henley branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have been honoured for

FOUR members of the Henley branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have been honoured for almost 100 years of combined service.

Gold badges were awarded to Terry and Janet Bass and Peter Herbert, while branch president Tony Hobbs received a bar to his gold badge for dedicated service.

The branch was formed in 1975 and two of the original members are still involved — Mr Hobbs and Joyce Walden, the vice-president who also holds a gold badge.

Mr Hobbs, the 83-year-old chairman of boat hire firm Hobbs of Henley, said: “I’ve done 45 years on the committee but it was a fantastic surprise.

“I was awarded the gold badge 15 years ago at least and I thought that was the end of my awards and all of a sudden I have been given a bar.” He said he continued to support the RNLI because its “fantastic” lifeboats cost a lot of money.

“It’s an organisation that is always looking to improve everything,” he said. “It’s absolutely unique.”

Mr and Mrs Bass have both been involved with the Henley branch for 15 years, having previously been on the committee of the Barnet and district branch for 16 years.

Mr Bass, 75, is vice-chairman and treasurer and his 63-year-old wife is the souvenir secretary.

He said: “Not only is it hard work but there’s good friendship as well.”

Mrs Bass added: “It is hard work but when you’ve raised funds it’s good.” Mr Herbert, 68, a director of Hobbs of Henley, is the branch’s fund-raising secretary and a former treasurer and was honoured for more than 20 years’ service.

He said: “You don’t do it for the recognition but it’s nice to have it. The RNLI is an important organisation and well known throughout the world. We do all we can to help keep it going.”

Norman Daniells and his wife Sally have been involved with the RNLI for 40 years. He has been chairman of the Henley branch for 15 years and holds a gold badge with a bar while his wife holds a gold badge.

Mr Daniells said: “The Henley branch committee must be one of the most decorated in the country.

“These things are not given out like confetti, you have to earn it by long and dedicated service. Without people like our committee members it just wouldn’t happen. They put in such a big effort to make it work.”

The branch’s annual car boot sale has raised an estimated £200,000 over the years. It also receives a donation each year from the proceeds of the Henley half marathon, which was the brainchild of Mr Hobbs and is now organised by the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge.

The branch’s other achievements include the purchase of an inshore lifeboat in 2009 for Withernsea in East Yorkshire called the Henley Eight.

The branch raised £31,000 for the boat in a year-long campaign.

Mr Daniells said it had helped save three lives and a dog.

To join the branch or to help with fund-raising, call Mr Daniells on (01491) 574781.

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