The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is offering a reward of £1,000 for the safe return of the historic gold medal awarded posthumously to the coxswain of the Penlee lifeboat the Solomon Browne.
The medal was discovered to be missing from the RNLI’s head office in Poole earlier this year and despite an extensive search and Police investigation, has not been found.
With the 19 December anniversary of the 1981 disaster approaching, the lifeboat charity is desperate for the medal to be found.
Determined that it should be returned safely the charity is now launching a fresh appeal for any information, with the help a £1,000 reward, which has been donated by a long term RNLI supporter specifically for this purpose.
Paul Boissier, Chief Executive of the RNLI, says,
‘We are extremely concerned about the whereabouts of the medal and anxious to secure its safe return. It is an important and significant part of the RNLI’s heritage, but its primary value lies in its emotional significance, particularly to the families of the crew of the Solomon Browne and the local communities in Newlyn and Mousehole.
Thanks to the generosity of a dedicated RNLI supporter, we are now able to offer a reward of £1,000 for information that leads to the recovery of the medal. The medal is still out there somewhere, and someone must know something. We just hope that the reward will encourage anyone with any information to come forward.’
The charity is especially interested in hearing from the member of the public who contacted Dorset Police anonymously with information and are appealing for them to get back in touch.
Anybody with any information about the medal’s location is urged to contact Dorset Police, quoting crime reference number I02 136, to contact the RNLI direct or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org
The gold medal was awarded posthumously to William Trevelyan Richards, Coxswain of the Penlee Lifeboat Solomon Browne, which sank after going to the aid of the coaster Union Star on the night of 19 December 1981. All eight volunteer crew members were lost in the disaster, and the whole crew were awarded gallantry medals by the RNLI in recognition of their selfless bravery and sacrifice.
The medal was stored in a facility with multiple layers of security. A thorough search of the heritage collection and internal investigation was carried out and the RNLI have been working closely with the Police and those affected by the medal’s loss.
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 in the United Kingdom or +44 1202 663234 if calling from outside the UK.