JOAN Stephenson feels as good as gold after she was awarded one of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s top honours.
Members of South Shields Ladies’ Lifeboat Guild, of which Mrs Stephenson is secretary, gathered at the town’s Sea Hotel to celebrate her recent award of the RNLI’s Gold Medal for long service.
It’s an accolade she shares with her late mother, Belle, who also worked tirelessly for the charity and was a recipient of the medal.
Mrs Stephenson, who lives with husband Duncan in The Lawe, South Shields, joined her mother in fundraising work in the mid-1970s and has since held the position of secretary for 20 years.
“I feel honoured to have been given it. I think my mother would be quite proud,” said the mum-of-two.
The South Shields Guild regularly raises between £12,000 and £14,000 a year for the lifeboat service, which is largely manned by volunteers and wholly supported by charity.
Last year, UK lifeboats rescued more than 8,300 people and saved more than 420 lives.
Mrs Stephenson said: “It’s becoming harder and harder to raise funds because there isn’t the money around. But we always appreciate what the people of South Shields do for us. Whatever event we hold, they support us.”
The next lifeboat guild event is on Friday, September 12, when the Custom’s Ukes present an evening of music and song at St Stephen’s Church in Mile End Road.
Tickets are £5, including a hot buffet, dessert, tea and coffee, and available by calling 01914 554 754.