Sunderland's volunteer RNLI crewmen's flag honour

Members of Sunderland's volunteer lifeboat crew have represented the RNLI at a national service to commemorate seafarers past and present.

Paul Nicolson and Martin Andrews were among the members chosen to parade the RNLI's standard at the annual national Service for Seafarers at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

The service saw representatives from a range of organisations come together, including the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, shipping companies, seaman's missions, schools and labour unions.

Paul is senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI and has taken part in 435 lifeboat launches, helping 391 people.

He said: "It was great honour for our station to be asked to parade our standard and represent the RNLI at such an auspicious occasion.

"Unfortunately, only three of our volunteer crew were able to attend due to the high demand for tickets for the service as the whole of Sunderland Lifeboat Crew would have been proud to have been there.

"Everyone involved at the lifeboat station is deeply proud of being part of the RNLI and proud of our station."

The seafarers' service started in 1905 and has continued annually, apart from gaps during the first and second world wars.

The guest of honour this year was the Lord Mayor of London Boris Johnson. In previous years members of the Royal Family have attended.

The chief executive and the chairman of the RNLI also went to the service.

The RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.