Lifesaving RNLI volunteer and retired coxwain Ron Cannon awarded MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

Ron Cannon has been awarded an MBE

Retired Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat coxswain Ron Cannon has been awarded an MBE in Her Majesty the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours.

Ron, an active RNLI volunteer for 53 years and former coxswain of Ramsgate lifeboat, gained the honour for his services to the charity that saves lives at sea.

He was a crewmember of Ramsgate RNLI – one of the busiest stations in Britain- for 37 years – and the coxswain for 25 of those. During his time at the helm of Ramsgate lifeboat he was awarded two Silver Gallantry medals – the RNLI’s second-highest honour.

In the family

Following family tradition, Ron joined Ramsgate lifeboat crew in 1964 and was appointed the station’s coxswain/mechanic in 1976, at the time the RNLI’s youngest cox’n.

This was shortly before the arrival at the station of the RNLI’s Waveney class lifeboat Ralph and Joy Swann, a new and advanced lifeboat design based upon a vessel proven by the US Coastguard.


He was twice awarded the RNLI’s Silver Medal for his ‘truly outstanding seamanship and tremendous courage’ for rescues. The first was during the evening of Boxing Day 1985 when he and his volunteer lifeboat crew members managed to save a French trawler and its seven-man crew when the trawler had run aground in Ramsgate’s Pegwell Bay.

The second was in November 1999, when he led his crew to rescue the three-person crew of a yacht aground on the Goodwin Sands in difficult and dangerous conditions

For each of these rescues he was also presented with The Maud Smith Award for that year’s bravest act of lifesaving by a lifeboat crew member.

Active support

Ron retired as coxswain in 2001 and was succeeded by his eldest son Ian. He maintained his association with Ramsgate lifeboat station firstly as a Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) and subsequently as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) until he reached the RNLI’s required retirement age.

His active support for the RNLI and the station continues, however, as President of the station’s management committee.

Paul Boissier, Chief Executive of the RNLI, said “Ron is an exceptional lifeboatman who has tirelessly served the RNLI and the local community of Ramsgate for over half a century. He is a courageous, dedicated and immensely generous volunteer who has always been willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. As such, he greatly deserves this prestigious honour.”

Birthday Honours

The honours recognise the achievements of extraordinary people across the UK.

In total 1,109 people have received an award this year:

  • 962 candidates have been selected at BEM, MBE and OBE level (303 at BEM, 438 at MBE and 221 at OBE)
  • 74% of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity
  • there are 554 successful women candidates in the list, representing 50% of the total
  • 10% of the successful candidates come from a BAME background, the greatest ever number of BAME recipients in an Honours list
  • 6.5% of the successful candidates consider themselves to have a disability (under the Equality Act 2010)