A DEDICATED volunteer who has spent 40 years helping to save lives has been given the ultimate recognition by being appointed an MBE.
Michael Whistler, 59, has been honoured for his dedication and service to Southend RNLI, where he held the roles of station mechanic and hovercraft pilot and commander.
Michael said: “I am pleased and delighted to receive the MBE for 40 years of voluntary service as a crew member of the Southend RNLI lifeboat crew.
“I’ve enjoyed all of my time with the charity and would like to thank all of my fellow crew members over the years for their friendship and support.”
Michael began volunteering at Southend RNLI in 1979, aged just 18. With no seagoing experience, he very quickly learned the ropes and became an operational crew member.
Michael had been on 1,200 callouts before retiring from the seagoing crew in 2019.
He continues to carry out planned maintenance on lifeboats and the inshore rescue hovercraft.
Michael also completed a 555-mile cycle from Scotland to Southend.
Graham Slack, lifeboat operations manager said: “Throughout his service at Southend, Michael has been a committed crew member providing a huge amount of support to the lifeboat operations team and ensuring his experience was consistently available to the launching authorities.”