At a gathering at RNLI Lerwick lifeboat station to mark the occasion last Tuesday evening (4 February), members of the guild and current lifeboat crew members paid tribute to Bella’s contribution on the committee.
After her first 10 years, Bella was then treasurer for 23 years, from 1992 until 2015. Since then, she has continued to support fundraising events and activities, including volunteering in the RNLI Lerwick shop.
In recognition of her long service, Bella received a RNLI Gold Badge and Bar in 2016.
The guild raises funds for the RNLI towards the operational costs of the Lerwick lifeboat in Scotland's far nothern isles, which relies entirely on public donations.
‘She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on’
Throughout the year, the guild organises many events, including the popular Lifeboat Open Day in midsummer and the Lifeboat Ball later in the year. Committee members also attend country shows during the summer months to generate income and to raise the profile of the RNLI.
In 2019, the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild, including funds raised by the men’s committee, raised a total of over £44,000.
Rhoda Watt, joint chair of the Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild and current treasurer, said: “Bella has been absolutely dedicated beyond measure and will be missed on our committee. She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on.”
Malcolm Craigie, RNLI Lerwick lifeboat operations manager, said: “The RNLI relies on dedicated fundraisers across the country to provide equipment and training for our volunteer crews, so that we’re ready to respond 24 hours a day.
“On behalf of the lifeboat crew, we’re hugely grateful to Bella for everything she has done for the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild over the last 38 years.”