A former Whitby mayor who has spent eight decades raising funds in support of the lifeboat team was honoured at an awards ceremony recently.
Ada Myers, 80, of Fountains Close, first started raising money for the lifeboat by selling winkles with her father.
She then went on to sell her toys during the Second World War, donating the funds to the life-saving charity which last week recognised her achievements by awarding her the institution’s gold medal.
The highest award available within the RNLI, it showed the appreciation of the charity towards Mrs Myers, who continues to raise funds today.
“It came as a shock because I never ever expected anything,” she said. “It was an enormous honour to get that medal, it really was.”
Ada remains a familiar sight around the town on fund-raising days and can often be seen wearing her traditional Staithes bonnet, encouraging others to donate.
The awards ceremony took place at the Barbican centre in London, where Mrs Myers was presented with the medal by a lifeboat coxswain who himself had been honoured with a silver medal for saving the lives of six people.
Mrs Myers’ father was a fisherman in Whitby and so she has had a lifelong relationship with the town’s lifeboat service.
While the station now utilises a Trent-class vessel worth millions of pounds, when Mrs Myers first started out the lifeboat crew launched a rowing vessel from the station, which was at that time located where the lifeboat museum now stands.
“When I was a little girl and the rocket went up and my Dad was at sea my Mum would say ‘go down and see if it’s your Dad’.
“We would always be worried, because you wanted your dad to come back.”
To raise money for the local volunteer group, her father would catch winkles and put them on the bar in pubs, where drinkers could buy them in exchange for a small donation.
These earlier lifeboatmen were incredibly brave, added Mrs Myers, as they would be rowing out into hazardous conditions, with the genuine risk that they may not return.
There was the added problem that many of the volunteers, and the fishermen they went to rescue, could not even swim.
She added: “I think they were really courageous, because they really did risk their lives every time they went out.”
Lifeboat charity needs you
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is seeking extra volunteers to help raise awareness and funds for its lifesaving work.
Hannah Garnett, RNLI community fund-raising manager for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, said: ‘Whether you can help us bake cakes, publicise events through Facebook and Twitter, help with collections or even have a go at organising your own fundraising events – we’d love to hear from you.”
For more information, please contact Hannah Garnett on 01482 822519, 07557191864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org