Retired Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat coxswain Ron Cannon has been to Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE awarded to him 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.
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.
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 as President of the station’s management committee.