Ramsgate and Margate RNLI mourns sudden passing of volunteer fundraiser Sarah Hewes

Sarah was a dedicated RNLI fundraiser and volunteer Photo Thanet RNLI

By Karen Cox

Ramsgate and Margate RNLI are mourning the sudden death of RNLI Thanet Fundraising Group chairperson and prolific photographer Sarah Hewes.

Sarah moved down from her home in Leicester to Ramsgate about eleven years ago after the passing of her mother.

Originally a maths teacher she decided to have a fresh start and take early retirement to enjoy her many interests amongst which was volunteering for her local RNLI in Leicester.

She said that her only requirements was to be near the coast with an RNLI station, a lighthouse close by and good public transport links as she didn’t drive. Thankfully for Ramsgate RNLI she settled on Ramsgate.

By coincidence her next door neighbour was the daughter of then Ramsgate Press Officer John Ray and he was able to introduce her to the local fundraising team where she eventually took over from Betty Bray as Chair of Ramsgate Fundraising.

Although registered blind and with health issues Sarah lead by example taking part in many Mayday walks not only with colleagues but also on her own. She went out of her way to maintain close relationships with the local businesses and built a strong team of fundraisers around herself.

Photo Thanet RNLI

In early 2021 she took on the management of the Margate team as well and the Thanet Fundraising Group was formed.

Most people will remember Sarah for her fondness of photography, she was never seen without her trusty camera as through its lens she was able to view the world.  She walked around the Royal Ramsgate Harbour most days capturing images of the working boats especially the wind farm, the Pilot boats as well as her beloved RNLI lifeboats. The local photographers knew her well and one said that she had left a legacy behind in her photographs, a statement that would have made her very proud.

Her peers describe her as a strong, fiercely independent lady who could be formidable but underneath her tough exterior she had a great sense of humour, with a caring kind heart. Chairman of the Ramsgate RNLI Management Team Eric Burton said: “Sarah was one of a kind and we will never replace her dedication, or the time and effort she gave to her role. She will be sadly missed by all of us.”

Details of her funeral are to be advised. The RNLI condolences go out to Sarah’s friends, colleagues and her brother Clive.

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