At the magnificent Worcester Cathedral, on Saturday 13th October, RLSS UK hosted the UK’s Honours ceremony, where many of RLSS UK’s thousands of volunteers were recognised for the outstanding contribution they make to help to keep people safe in, on and near water.

Together with our new Patron, Lord Storey, an amazing 470 people attended the ceremony. The recipients walked onto the stage to the sound of great applause, recognising the outstanding work they had done in a variety of ways, and over many years, with lengths of service ranging from one to 50.

Being the final one of my three Honours ceremonies I have had the pleasure of attending, I once again took great pride in shaking almost every hand, thanking them personally for their heartful contribution to saving lives.

I feel it’s worth repeating:

“If it’s your first award, be proud! If it’s award number two, three or more, thank you so much for continuing to do yourself proud as well as RLSS UK”. Those that were unable to attend the ceremony have every right to “be proud” too. I encourage you all to please…take a moment and think of all the good that you to have done.

In 2015, a survey showed approximately 12.4 million people in the UK take part in water-based activities. I am sure that figure is higher today. It is a fact that in most cases, if someone is in difficulty in water and cannot help themselves, then it's the nearest person that frequently initiates a rescue, with the aim of saving the life of that person in trouble.

  • The 11-year-old girl that recognises a school friend has passed out under the water, reaches down to get her, bringing her to the surface when she gasps for air and survives
  • The 12-year-old boy who sees a young girl stuck under a large inflatable in a swimming pool, who reaches down and pulls her to safety
  • The lady who sees a young girl being knocked over by waves on the beach, who goes and gets the girl and brings her to her feet

All too often the stories of these everyday heroes do not reach the press, for various reasons and yet sadly, they do if the outcome was not so fortunate.

I ask each and everyone one of you to continue the outstanding contribution you all make, connecting in some way with the 12.4 million people and helping us strive toward one of our core ambitions: a world without drowning.

Yours in lifesaving,

Ian Hutchings
RLSS UK President