After 17 years of volunteering, Swanage RNLI chairman steps down

Long serving supporter, Peter Foster who is described by the crew as “kind and professional” has retired, after spending the last nine years as Swanage Lifeboat Station’s chairman.

During his time as chairman he oversaw significant improvements including the rebuilding of the Swanage Lifeboat Station and the arrival of the Shannon all-weather lifeboat.


Alongside his role of chairman, he was also responsible for setting up the annual fundraising Swanage RNLI golf day at the Dorset Golf and Country Club, raising over £20,000 for the lifeboat station.

Peter first became involved as a boathouse attendant at the lifeboat station, showing visitors around, and he also worked alongside his late wife, Jan in the lifeboat shop.

Peter Foster taking to the stage during Swanage Lifeboat Week

Peter Foster taking to the stage during Swanage Lifeboat Week

“Peter has been a great support”

The current Swanage RNLI chair of fundraising, Jane Flood was first introduced to the charity by Peter, who knew her parents. She said:

“Throughout my time as a volunteer, Peter has been a great support. As well as encouraging me to get involved in the first place, he has always been willing to get involved with fundraising and to help organise new events which has really helped our fundraising efforts in Swanage.”

Fundraising appeal for the new lifeboat station

In March 2011, Peter was elected as chairman and led the Swanage Lifeboat Station through many events, but perhaps his greatest legacy was his role in the fundraising appeal for the new lifeboat station.

This huge project was years in the planning, took time to reach fruition and was not without its problems but Peter worked tirelessly alongside the patron of the appeal, John Whybrow and a team of volunteers to reach and exceed the fundraising target, raising over £465,000 in total.

Peter Foster receiving a cheque on behalf of Swanage Lifeboat Station

Peter Foster receiving a cheque for the Swanage Lifeboat Station’s boathouse appeal

“Fortunate enough to work with Peter for many years”

Swanage Lifeboat Station coxswain, Dave Turnbull said:

“I have been fortunate enough to work with Peter for many years and am particularly grateful for his support during the station build and arrival of the Shannon class which was when I took over as coxswain.

“We are lucky in Swanage to have a great number of volunteers, but even luckier to have volunteers such as Peter who give their time freely for such a long period.

“It’s because of people like Peter, and thanks to the hours they give, that our station continues to be well supported. Unfortunately the restrictions of 2020 have meant that we’ve not been able to arrange a proper send off for Peter and others who have stepped down or retired this year, but we hope that we can rectify this in 2021.

“All the RNLI volunteers at Swanage are very grateful for Peter’s dedication and support over the years and we look forward to honouring his commitment next year.”

Swanage Lifeboat Station has now elected Chris Kenny to take over from Peter in the voluntary role of chairman.

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