Island RNLI Volunteer Set To Join London’s Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph Service

lifeboat 2013_3A lifesaving volunteer from Scilly will be representing the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in the annual Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph service this weekend.

Phillip Woodcock from St Mary’s is one of nineteen people from across the UK and Ireland who will represent the RNLI at the service in London’s Whitehall, marking the first time the charity has been officially represented at the event.

Phillip joined the RNLI as a volunteer 17 years ago, becoming mechanic on the St Mary’s lifeboat in 2007 and three years later taking on the role of coxswain.

Although thousands of RNLI volunteers have publicly attended Remembrance Sunday events throughout history, this is the first time the RNLI has been formally invited to take part in the service and parade, joining 48 other organisations and associations.

The RNLI played its own role in the famed Dunkirk ‘Little Ships’ evacuation in 1940.

Twenty RNLI vessels were among the 700 private boats that sailed from Ramsgate to Dunkirk as part of Operation Dynamo, helping to rescue more than 338,000 British and French soldiers who were trapped on the beaches.

Paul Boissier, Chief Executive of the RNLI, said being invited to formally take part on Remembrance Sunday is, “both an honour and a privilege.”

“Like so many other associations, the RNLI played its part in the two World Wars. Apart from the many volunteers who went off to fight, many lifeboats joined the flotilla of Little Ships to pull off the audacious evacuation in 1940.

“It fills me with immense pride that we will be formally represented in the Cenotaph service as part of the annual commemoration. This is the first time in history the RNLI will be represented and I know that on the day our volunteers thoughts will be with the many millions who gave their own lives so that today we can enjoy the freedom we have.”

The RNLI relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions to fund its lifesaving work. In 2015 the charity’s lifeboats launched a total of 8,228 times and rescued 7,973 people, saving 348 lives.