RNLI award for golden girl Jean
- Credit: IAN BURT
Brave lifeboat crew members working from Wells always knew a hot coffee and homemade cake would be waiting for them when they returned from their life-saving missions at sea, thanks to Jean Court.
Providing the welcome refreshments was how Mrs Court began her support for the Wells branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
That support now spans 50 years and has been recognised with the awarding of an RNLI Gold Badge.
Mrs Court, 78, is a founder member of The Wells Lifeboat Guild, formed in 1969 to raise funds for the RNLI.
Mrs Court recently stepped down as chairman of the guild, a role she had for 10 years, but remains a member.
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Her compassion for others came from having tuberculosis in her 20s.
She has always felt a need to help people because she recovered.
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Mrs Court's long association with the sea also inspired her work with the RNLI.
Her great-grandfather was a ship's captain, one of her sons, David Court, was a RNLI crew member in Wells and royal marine and another son, Christopher Court, was in the Royal Navy.
Mrs Court said: 'I've always felt close to the sea. The lifeboat crew members risk their lives at sea so it's important to do what I can for them.'
Mrs Court moved to Wells from Kent in 1959 and runs a guesthouse in the town.
Recipients of the RNLI's Gold Badge normally travel to London to the RNLI's national annual presentation of awards.
But due to her love for Wells, Mrs Court insisted on receiving it locally from Lady Leicester, who when presenting at Alderman Peel High School on Saturday told Mrs Court: 'You have been a cornerstone in Wells for so many years; you are loved and admired by so many throughout the town.
'We all uphold you in high regard, and it is typical of you not to want this presentation in London, but amongst you friends and your precious crew in Wells.'
Mrs Court said: 'Whilst I am very honoured to receive the RNLI's Gold Badge, I feel it is also awarded to all members of the Lifeboat Guild, past and present, who work tirelessly to support the Wells lifeboats and their crews.'
The following retired members of Wells Lifeboat crew received long service retirement certificates: Robin Golding (44 years); Malcolm Smith (42 years); Desmond Wright (24 years); Paula Andrews (19 years); Darren Thompson (15 years). Retired crew members and volunteers Regan Smith (10 years), Tom Royall (eight years) and Rev Tony Douglas (station chaplain for eight years) received framed letters of thanks from the RNLI.
The following members of the Wells Lifeboat Guild received awards from the RNLI: Monty and Les Parkins; Shelia Warner; Kate Webb; Louise Williams.