Ken Lewis an RNLI volunteer fund raiser has decided to retire from active service due to mobility issues after almost 40 years of representing the charity particularly in the Maesteg area.
During his time with the RNLI Ken, from Aneurin Bevan Way, became known throughout his town as Mr RNLI due in the main to his passion for helping to raise money for the charity he supported so faithfully. Such was his dedication that in the year 2000 he was awarded the BCBC Mayor’s Citizenship Award. Coincidently on the same day Ken’s late wife, Barbara, received the same award for her voluntary help and support to Y Bwythyn Princess of Wales hospital, Bridgend. Then in 2007 the RNLI recognised Ken and he was awarded The RNLI Bronze Badge for fund raising.
‘I was employed as a NCB electrical engineer and retired in 1983’, Ken said, ‘becoming a fund raiser was quite a difference for me. At first there were a few of us locals who ran a RNLI fundraising guild here in Maesteg but after several years the group disbanded. By this time though I had seen the benefit of fundraising for the charity and I joined the Fund Raising Committee at Porthcawl lifeboat station in 1995. We would meet every month in Porthcawl and discuss plans for collections and fund raising events.
I suppose unofficially I became the Maesteg face of the RNLI, at one time I was responsible for having one hundred lifeboat collecting boxes in local businesses and I would visit each business once a month to empty the boxes. Unfortunately with many shops and pubs closing in the town the number of lifeboat boxes had dropped to thirty five but this is still a significant amount and every penny collected helps the charity’.
Ken the father of two, daughter Valerie and son Ian would regularly be seen outside the town’s supermarkets with a collecting bucket whatever the weather. He even enrolled the help of his son Ian and arranged for his RNLI authorisation so as to help when Ken broke his leg in 2008. Over the years he has also organised three fundraising concerts by choirs from Maesteg.
Spokesman John Abraham, chairman of Porthcawl RNLI said, ‘I have worked with Ken for many years on our committee and he has made a big difference not only to our fund raising results but he has been a true ambassador for our charity in his home town. We very much hope to maintain our presence in Maesteg and hope to recruit someone with as much dedication as that shown by Ken. Although he has retired from his active role he is still a valuable committee member and remains a RNLI Life Governor, a position he has held since 1990’.