Sunderland?s RNLI crew have paid tribute to one of the charity?s longest-serving volunteers, Charlotte Stewart, who died on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 96.
Mrs Stewart, president of Sunderland Lifeboat Guild, was an RNLI fundraising volunteer for more than 60 years. In recognition of her dedicated service she was made an RNLI Honorary Life Governor in 2006, receiving her award from Princess Alexandra at the Barbican in London.
Captain Peter Mitchell, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Sunderland RNLI said: ?Everyone involved at the lifeboat station is deeply saddened by the loss of such a prominent figure at the lifeboat station. Charlotte?s hard work and dedication over many years has ensured that our volunteer crews had the correct equipment and training to allow them to go to sea and save lives.
Mrs Stewart began fundraising for the RNLI in 1947 and was a driving force behind the Sunderland Guild, which raises thousands of pounds for the charity every year. She became President of the Sunderland Guild in 1981, received a Silver Badge from the RNLI in 1990 and in 1999 was awarded a Gold Badge.
Michael Charlton, the RNLI?s Area Fundraising Manager in the North East, said Mrs Stewart was an inspirational lady who was always enthusiastic and open to new ideas.
He added: ?Charlotte was a wonderful ambassador for the RNLI and always gave the charity her unwavering support. Age made no difference to how she saw things and she was constantly looking for new ways to move things forward and improve the way we raise funds?.
?Her experience and dedication will be greatly missed by everyone involved with the RNLI in Sunderland, as will her sense of fun and the positive way she approached everything. She really is irreplaceable.?
Mrs Stewart?s funeral will take place on Thursday 24th September (1:30pm) at Sunderland Minster and will be led by Sunderland RNLI?s Chaplain Canon Stephen Taylor (MBE).