August 10th, 2022.

In a special event hosted at the Newhaven lifeboat station, Jane King, High Sheriff of East Sussex, presented medals to seven of the thirteen recipients recognised for their commitment to saving lives at sea, each serving a minimum of five years.

Jane King said: "It is an honour to present these commemorative medals and recognise the essential work of these volunteers."

She thanked the volunteers for their dedication, collectively volunteering for over 154 years, attending regular training, being on call throughout the day and night and giving up their time when the emergency call comes in.

"On behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, the community of Newhaven, visitors to our county, those who work on the water and all who enjoy the Sussex coast, we thank you."

The High Sheriff acknowledged the support of family and friends, whose commitment makes it possible to volunteer at this level.

The Platinum Jubilee medal follows a long history of awarding medals to mark Royal Jubilee celebrations. This is the fourth medal under Her Majesty The Queen's reign. Newhaven's recipients are among 4,500 volunteers and frontline staff from across the RNLI to receive the medal.

Nick Gentry, Navigator Mechanic, who has served 39 years at Newhaven RNLI, saID: "It is a great honour to receive such a significant award and be recognised as part of the many generations of lifesavers who have built the legacy of this charity."

Lee Blacknell, Second Coxswain, who has served 19 years at Newhaven RNLI, said: "This commemorative medal is testimony to the hard work, grit and determination of our crews, who drop everything and venture out in all weathers to help save lives at sea."

The High Sheriff was accompanied to Newhaven Lifeboat station by her Police Cadet Esther Foreman and Fire Cadet Amber Valentine. Following the presentation, they were given a tour of Newhaven's Severn class All-weather Lifeboat, David and Elizabeth Acland, by Lewis Arnold (Coxswain Mechanic) and Nick Gentry (Navigator Mechanic).

Two further recognition with thanks were presented by the High Sheriff. A 40 years Long Service Award for Roger Cohen MBE, Lifeboat Operations Manager, and an Excellence in Volunteering Award for Roz Ashton, Lifeboat Press Officer.

Roger Cohen MBE said: "The journey from trainee crew to Lifeboat Operations Manager - volunteering at Brighton, Tower and Newhaven, continues to bring me enormous satisfaction, fulfilling my part in the one crew who together save lives at sea."

Newhaven RNLI volunteers to receive the Platinum Jubilee Medal are: Lewis Arnold (Coxswain Mechanic), Lee Blacknell (Second Coxswain), Roger Cohen MBE (Lifeboat Operations Manager), David Collins-Williams (Deputy Launch Authority), Mark Ford (Deputy Launch Authority), Nick Gentry (Navigator/Crew), Billy Hipperson (Crew), James Johnson (Navigator/Crew), Gary Marsh (Deputy Launch Authority), Francis Nicholls (Lifeboat Medical Advisor), Henry Prout (Crew), Alvaro Rodriguez (Crew) and Peter Todd (Mechanic/Crew).

Pictured: Roger Cohen MBE and Jane King, High Sheriff of East Sussex.  Photo Credit Roz Ashton.
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