Regular Swanage visitor bequests large gift to lifeboat crew

The family of a long serving RNLI volunteer, who died at the age of 101, visited the Swanage Lifeboat Station to hand over a generous donation to the crew.

A former Wren, Joan Allen regularly visited Swanage with her family and in more recent years celebrated her 90th birthday here. She also raised funds for the RNLI in Harpenden in Hertfordshire, where she lived after her retirement.

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Swanage Lifeboat
J M Alcock

Swanage’s all weather lifeboat in the bay

Fond memories of Swanage

With so many fond memories of Swanage and affiliation with the RNLI it was Joan’s wish for donations to be made to the Swanage Lifeboat Station.

Joan’s daughter Sally Wilkinson, and Joan’s niece Jill Rogerson visited the lifeboat station on Saturday 5th March 2022 to present two cheques totalling £2,600 to Swanage RNLI coxswain, Dave Turnbull.

Cheques presented to Swanage Lifeboat crew
RNLI/ Roydon Woodford

Sally Wilkinson (Left) and Jill Rogerson (Right) present cheques to Coxswain Dave Turnbull at Swanage Lifeboat Station

“Inspiring to learn about all of Joan’s work”

Dave Turnbull said:

“It was amazing to receive such a significant donation from the family and friends of Joan.

“It was clear that Joan’s passion and support for the RNLI had extended to her family, and it was inspiring to learn about all of Joan’s work as part of an inland committee raising awareness and valuable funds for the RNLI.”

Joan was born in Melbourn, near Cambridge, but when she retired in 1990, she settled in Harpenden to be nearer to her family.

It was here that she joined the local RNLI fundraising committee, taking part in annual street collections and helping to count the collections at the end of a fortnight of fundraising.

Swanage Lifeboat launches
Andrew Birt

The Swanage inshore lifeboat about to launch

Presented with the RNLI Bronze Badge

In one year, the Harpenden committee was recognised as the highest fundraising inland branch in the country. In recognition of this tremendous effort, the volunteers including Joan, were presented with the RNLI Bronze Badge at the RNLI headquarters in Poole.

During the Second World War Joan applied and was accepted to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service. After initially being told there were no vacancies, she received a call up telegram to become a Meteoritical Wren in Greenwich, which she accepted.

Swanage Lifeboat week activity
Swanage RNLI

The lifeboat during during Swanage’s fundraising Lifeboat Week

Maritime interest

It’s believed her naval service started Joan’s maritime interest and led to her volunteering for the RNLI.

The RNLI says that this donation will help ensure that Swanage Lifeboat Station remains operational, ready at a moment’s notice to help those in trouble at sea when the pager sounds.

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