Princess Anne presented lifeboat operations manager Roger Cohen with his MBE at Windsor Castle on Tuesday (November 8).
An RNLI volunteer with 40 years voluntary service across London and Sussex has been recognised as an MBE by HRH The Princess Royal.
Roger Cohen is currently lifeboat operations manager at both Brighton and Newhaven RNLI and has previously served as crew and helm with Brighton and Tower lifeboat stations.
Under his leadership, Brighton RNLI became the first LGBT accredited station in the country and was the first to take part in Pride.
Roger found out about his honour in January, but was awarded the MBE in the afternoon session of investitures at Windsor Castle on Tuesday. Other recipients included comedian Adam Hills and Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty.
Roger said: ‘It was a surreal day – and one I will never forget.
‘Walking through Windsor castle, it is steeped in history and tradition, from the marble throne of Queen Victoria to many priceless paintings; it was an incredible experience and a real honour to be part of it.
‘I was able to have a few minutes to talk with Princess Anne during the presentation – we spoke about my time working at Tower lifeboat station on the River Thames.
‘She recognised the challenges faced by inner city stations where life goes on around you during rescues and she was incredibly supportive of the work done by volunteers.’
Princess Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence is a Vice President of the RNLI.
Roger added: ‘It meant a lot to have my partner Alison – who is treasurer of Brighton RNLI – and my two children Jade and Jack with me on the day.
‘Behind every RNLI volunteer is a network of loved ones keeping everything going while we save lives at sea.
‘Every launch that we’ve undertaken, every chance to bring someone safely home to shore has been a tremendous privilege.
‘I’ve seen a lot of change over forty years and am proud to be a part of Brighton which has a diverse crew from all walks of life.
‘We are a supportive organisation just like an extended family – and the courageous and dependable nature of the crew is one thing that has remained a constant.’
Since joining the RNLI in 1982, Roger has been involved in 2,260 lifeboat launches resulting in 248 lives saved.
He served as crew and helm at Brighton for 18 years and crew at Tower – the RNLI’s busiest station – for 13 years before becoming lifeboat operations manager for Brighton and subsequently taking on the same role at Newhaven.
He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the RNLI and charity.