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Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station has been saddened by the news of the sudden death of Diane Lamberton, Chair of the Whitstable RNLI fundraising branch.

Diane collapsed at the station on Wednesday afternoon whilst working in the station shop with husband Larry. Despite the efforts of the crew, paramedics and ambulance personnel they were unable to revive her. She had just celebrated her 81st birthday.

Diane had been on Whitstable RNLI’s fundraising committee for over 50 years, since the station was established in 1963, when in the early days she and other wives would gather to make tea for the lifeboat crew whilst awaiting their return from a lifeboat callout.

The committee under its first chair, Mary Hardy and subsequently Linda Livingstone became a vibrant fundraising group for the station and the RNLI and Diane took over in November 1986 to become the third chairman in the station’s 53-year history.

Supported by the many other volunteers, Diane continued to build up the support activities and developed the station souvenir shop and ‘galley’ into what has now become an important asset to the station. In doing so she made an invaluable contribution to funding the day to day running of the lifeboat station in Whitstable, which is among the busiest stations in Kent.

Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Mike Judge said: ‘Diane was well known throughout the local community for working tirelessly for the RNLI and liaising with other local fundraising groups.

‘She carried out an enormous amount of unseen work and was also a personal friend to many of the crew and their partners.

‘The whole of the RNLI family will miss her greatly and we will endeavour to support Larry and her family at this time”.

Diane’s funeral will be at Barham Crematorium on Tuesday 31st January at 3.20pm.