In Memory of

LI32327@RNLI Chairman Admiral t

Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce

Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL, or Mike as he was known amongst RNLI friends, had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during which he commanded three submarines from the 1960s until the early 1980s, leading to him being promoted to the Flag List in 1991. His senior Royal Navy roles included Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command and Second Sea Lord, Commander-in-Chief Fleet and First Sea Lord. He was knighted, held several NATO positions, and headed up all of the UK Armed Forces as Chief of Defence Staff.

After an impressive naval career lasting 42 years, Lord Boyce retired in May 2003, but his busy schedule continued. He was appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and elevated to the peerage. Having been a RNLI member for several years (following the dismasting of his Hobie Cat off the east coast of England in the mid-1980s when a lifeboat came to his aid), Lord Boyce joined the Council in 2004. He was elected as RNLI Chairman in July 2009 and remained in this position until July 2013, when he was made a Vice President.

Mike and the RNLI

One of Mike’s first duties as Chairman of the RNLI was speaking at the dedication ceremony of the RNLI Memorial at Poole. Funded by supporters and staff, the memorial is a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifice shown by many people involved with the charity.

Mike helped steer the charity through the stormy economic climate following the financial crisis of 2008, oversaw a growth in water safety programmes, and the foundation of the RNLI’s international work, helping to tackle the global drowning problem. He was also instrumental in a crucial development period of the Shannon class lifeboat – the charity’s most advanced rescue craft.

During his watch, there was substantial expansion of the RNLI Lifeguard Service across the UK and Channel Islands. At the start of 2008, RNLI lifeguards patrolled 110 beaches and by 2013, they were providing a service on more than 200 beaches. But perhaps the charity’s most significant achievement during his tenure was the build of the All-weather Lifeboat Centre, the charity’s own lifeboat production and maintenance facility, which brought all-weather lifeboat manufacture in-house for the first time. It helped to secure the future supply of RNLI all-weather lifeboats and gave greater control over future costs and quality.

Mike greatly enjoyed meeting thousands of RNLI volunteers while he was Chairman, attending many naming ceremonies and events, including the opening of a new lifeboat station at The Lizard and several RNLI annual awards’ ceremonies. He particularly cherished the memory of RNLI lifeboats taking part in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames in 2012.

Reflecting on his years in the role when he stood down as Chairman in 2013, Mike said: ‘I will always feel proud to be part of our charity; and forever will be touched by the generosity of our people, whether they give their time, talents or financial support – all for one noble cause: to save lives at sea.’

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Gillie Jackson

Mike was Godfather to my eldest son, and a very special friend from when he was a Lieutenant on the nuclear submarine ‘HMS Valiant’ at Faslane. We were always in touch, and I was extremely proud of what he achieved in his distinguished career – but not surprised. So many of us will miss …

Denis Brophy MBE Lifeboat Operations Manager Walmer Lifeboat Station

      On behalf of everyone at Walmer Lifeboat Station we would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of Lord Boyce. It was a pleasure and privilege to have welcomed Lord Boyce to the station on many occasions, whilst he was staying at Walmer Castle.  He would often cycle …

Ned Nuzum BEM

Mike was an officer and an exceptional gentleman. I first met him in 1975-76 whilst serving in the Royal Navy, based at the former submarine base HMS Dolphin. He was in command of the Dolphin based submarine HMS Opossum at that time, a very popular skipper, a reputable tactician and he commonly visited us …

Angela Rook

It was my absolute honour to work alongside Mike for a number of years.  I learnt so much from him and will never forget his guidance and wise counsel.  My deepest condolences are sent to his family; he will be deeply missed. …

Mark Dowie

Admiral Mike was an extraordinary leader who made a massive contribution to public life.  His time as Chairman of the RNLI was marked by great progress and achievement but he is also remembered as a kind man who had time for everyone within the charity.  He stayed in touch with the RNLI and often …

Maggie Pardoe

It was a pleasure to work alongside you at the RNLI; sending sincere condolences to your family. …

Paul Boissier

Mike was, quite simply, a great man.  A man of integrity and stature, he achieved so much in his life, yet he always had time for the people and the work of the RNLI.  He was an outstanding Chairman.  He relished spending time in and around the lifeboat stations, meeting and encouraging the people …

James Vaughan

He was indeed exceptional and a privilege to work with. I will always remember his uncanny ability to ask the most perceptive and often (for a newish RNLI Director at the time) challenging questions. An remarkable man. RIP …

Owen Medland

I had the honour of spending time at sea on a major NATO exercise during his tenure as Second Sea Lord and as a young Lieutenant was inspired by the absolute quality of the leadership that I witnessed. Years later it was a priviledge to again spend time with “Mike” visiting lifeboat stations on …

Ronald Neil

The RNLI was priviledged to have at its helm a person who brought to the Institution  so much more than the  remarkable  experience of an outanding naval and defence career. He had a talent for steering a way forward in the most challenging of issues that confronted the RNLI. Willing to listen patiently to …