Sunday, 26 September 2021

Posthumous honour for man devoted to lifeboats

A MAN from Benson has been posthumously awarded a gold badge by the RNLI.

A MAN from Benson has been posthumously awarded a gold badge by the RNLI.

David Tyler was honoured for 25 years of fund-raising for the charity.

His widow, Barbara, 83, was presented with the award by the Duke of Kent at a ceremony held at the Barbican in London.

Mrs Tyler travelled to the capital with her neighbours, Laurie and Moira Keys, and said it was an emotional occasion.

“It was very moving, especially when I was walking on to the stage in front of 2,000 people,” she said. Her husband would have been “tickled pink” at the award, which is the highest ranking of those issued to shore-based volunteers.

“It is something I shall treasure,” she said. “He more or less gave his life to the lifeboats.”

A letter notifying Mr Tyler of the honour was sent to the couple’s home in Coach Way shortly after Mr Tyler passed away in December.

Mr Tyler had previously been presented with a plaque by the Wallingford branch in honour of his work and the couple were jointly awarded a silver statue of a lifeboatman for services rendered to the RNLI in 1996.

Mrs Tyler said: “Every year we would raise £3,000 to £4,000. We used to lug five cases around with us to all the local coffee mornings to sell souvenirs. We would have to sell an awful lot.”

Mr Tyler helped set up a fund- raising branch in North Finchley and Barnet with a colleague and then spent seven years fund-raising by selling small souvenirs with his wife.

He spent a further 18 years fund-raising for the Wallingford branch after moving to Benson when he retired from working as an assistant manager for Barclays. The couple had got to know the village as they used to stop off in Benson for provisions during trips to Oxford aboard their 32ft boat Porringer.

They enjoyed trips to London and Windsor for more than 20 years but had to sell the boat when Mr Tyler became unwell.

“She was like one of the family and it was a very sad moment when we had to sell her,” said Mrs Tyler. “We were unable to have children of our own and she was like our baby.”

Mrs Tyler said she missed fund- raising with her husband, adding: “We met a good crowd and I am still friends with them.”

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