Hornsea Inshore Rescue chairman Sue Hickson-Marsay paid a visit to Buckingham Palace last week to receive the MBE from the Princess Royal.
The award was in recognition of “services to the community in Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire, and to maritime safety”.
After receiving the award, Sue said: “It was a most magnificent day to remember. I was so pleased it was presented by the Princess Royal as we had met before when she officially opened the new boathouse. She asked me how it was all going and if we were still getting sufficient volunteers.
“It was all so well organised and impressive, but very friendly and informal. I feel the award was not just for me but for all the wonderful volunteers we have had over the years.”
Back in 1991 Sue was a lifeguard at Woodford Leisure Centre and for 20 years a coastguard at Hornsea. In that year the powers that be decided to move the coastguard inshore patrol boat to Hull, leaving Hornsea with no emergency cover, the nearest RNLI stations being at Bridlington and Withernsea. It was decided by several local people, Sue being one of them, that they would set up their own independent lifeboat and the charity Hornsea Inshore Rescue was formed.
Sue oversaw its rapid development from a converted RIB housed in an ex-pigsty to a state-of-the-art organisation with specialist lifeboats, launching gear and a bespoke boathouse/ multipurpose building to act as its HQ.
She has won numerous awards, including the Women in Business Award, and many more have been awarded to the organisation under Sue’s stewardship.
Funding a highly specialised rescue organisation to the same standards as the RNLI costs a very large amount of money, currently about £55,000 a year, and Sue has been instrumental as a major fundraiser throughout the past 30 years.
When Hornsea Inshore Rescue first started, Sue was quoted as saying, “If Hornsea Rescue saves just one life it will have been worth it.”
Since then, it has saved countless lives and has had 43 callouts in the past year-and-a-half.