Beer RNLI stalwart 30 years of dedication

A BEER woman who has dedicated over 30 years of her life to supporting and fundraising for the RNLI has been awarded for her efforts.

Wendy Cummins, of Causeway, was presented with a Gold badge at the charity’s annual awards ceremony in London last month.

She was given the accolade by HRH Prince Michael of Kent during the swish affair at the Barbican Centre on May 27.

Wendy, secretary of the Seaton Beer and District Branch, said: “I got a letter in December telling me I was getting the badge. I was surprised but also excited.

“It was an amazing day at the presentation – I think my heart rate doubled when I was collecting the badge!”

Her children, Alastair and Tracey, as well as branch chairman Christine Palicio and souvenir secretary Audrey Tims attended the event.

Wendy, 52, and Tracey were also present at the pre-ceremony chairman’s lunch, hosted by Admiral the Lord Boyce.

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The awards programme, which was given to all the guests, stated: ‘Wendy’s unwavering support of the RNLI has been very much a family affair and she continues to be an outstanding ambassador in the community.’

The RNLI stalwart first became involved in the lifesaving organisation when she and late husband Nigel moved to Beer from Seaton in 1976.

They took part in a sponsored walk the following year and never looked back – only months later they joined the branch’s committee.

Wendy became assistant secretary in 1988, and then secretary in 1997 after well-known RNLI supporter Barbara Harding died. She was presented with a Silver badge in 1999 along with Nigel, who was vice-chairman of the branch from 1992-94 and chairman from 1994 until his death in 2007.

The past three years have been exceptionally hard for Wendy, whose parents and husband died within 13 months.

“It has been difficult but we’re getting sorted,” she said.

“It was quite an emotional time at the ceremony because you obviously think Nigel deserved a badge as well.”

Determined Wendy, who works in Fields of Sidmouth, has continued her role within the RNLI during the challenging times and says “it is a way of life”.

“I do enjoy it,” she added, “especially when we are out on the stalls and meeting people.

“The RNLI is vital and very important here as we are by the sea. The branch committee is very good and we couldn’t do it without all of our volunteers.”

l Wendy’s daughter Tracey ran the Bristol 10k last month to raised funds for the Seaton, Beer district branch of the RNLI. She completed it in one hour seven minutes and 14 seconds, and has so far collected a tremendous �670.