Honoured and humbled was the reaction of Portrush man Robin Cardwell as he capped a remarkable year by being awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday list.
Robin, one of a number of award recipients from the Causeway area, recently retired after 27 years service to the RNLI and turned 70 years of age.
Speaking about the honour for services to the RNLI and the community, Robin added: “I accept this MBE on behalf of Portrush Lifeboat Station and all the volunteers that are and have been connected with the work they do saving lives at sea.
“The operations and fundraising team and of course the volunteer crew are vital to this role on the north coast and I have been very privileged to have been both crew and Lifeboat Operations Manager, working with a fine bunch of men and women. This award is dedicated to you all.”
Robin’s successor as Operations Manager Keith Gilmore offered his congratulations saying: “On behalf of the management and crew at Portrush Lifeboat Station I would like to convey to Robin our hearty congratulations on his being awarded the honour of an MBE.
“Robin, through his dedication to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, has made an invaluable contribution to the cause of saving lives at sea around the north coast of Ireland.
“In Portrush we are very proud of Robin’s record of service and very pleased that he has received the recognition that he has never sought but has richly deserved.”
Also recognised in the list is Coleraine businessman Norman Lynas who received an OBE for services to business, the community and charity.
From small beginnings in the fish business, Norman has grown Lynas Foodservice to a company now employing some 450 staff. He establised the Lynas Charitable Trust Fund in 1978, which has supported a wide variety of causes over the years, especially involving Christian work and he has also played a role in the work of the Coleraine Enterprise Agency.
He said: “I am very surprised but feel greatly privileged to receive this honour which I feel I don’t deserve. It would not have been possible without the support of my wife and family, the wonderful staff at Lynas Foodservice, the committed young leaders in Exodus and the visionary team at Causeway Enterprise Agency.”
Coleraine’s Raymond Pollock received an MBE for charitable services. Raymond, owner of Right Price Carpets and Furniture, has been involved with the Children to Lapland charity for around 12 years as North West co-ordinator and the news of the MBE came as a complete surprise to him.
“I feel really, really humbled and very happy. There are so many people involved in this work I feel this is for all of them.”
Michael Cecil from Rathlin Island was awarded an OBE for his work with the Rathlin Development and Community Association. Currently in Lesbos, Greece working with Refugee Rescue, Michael commented; “I see this recognition more as an award for the role I currently occupy than anything personal. Many residents of Rathlin give freely of their time to help develop the island, many others have dedicated large amounts of their lives in the past and I know many will in the future.
“I understand these awards are heavily scrutinised by a panel before any recommendations are made, as I’m currently on my fourth visit to the Greek island of Lesbos in response to the ongoing refugee crisis I would imagine that side of my life has played a part in the awards committee decision.”
Other local recipients were Columb Henry who received an MBE for services to the community; Johann Muldoon from Ballymoney received an MBE for services to business and architecture and Elizabeth Campbell, also from Ballymoney who received a BEM for services to Girl Guiding. Elizabeth was a recipient of an MBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours.