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.’

Create Condolence Book


Book Owner: Mark Dowie
View Condolences (Max 500)
Add New Condolence Message

Derek Rea ( Larne Lifeboat Station Mechanic.)

On behalf of Larne Lifeboat Station, OPS team, crew and fundraising branch, We would like to send our condolences to the family and close friends of Lord Boyce,  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this sad time, Derek R. …

Steve Clarke

On behalf of everyone at Bridlington Lifeboats Station please accept our sincere condolences to both the family and friends of Lord Boyce as you remember him at the Service of Thanksgiving on Thursday 13th July 2023.  Steve Clarke Lifeboat Operations Manager Bridlington Lifeboats Station …

Alison Saunders

It was the greatest honour for me to serve as a Deputy Chairman under Mike Boyce’s outstanding leadership of the RNLI.  His stewardship of the Institution was second to none and his vision for its future far reaching.  A man who commanded my utmost respect and admiration. …

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 him so very much. I send my deepest condolences to his family. …

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 along the prom and pop into the station, always showing a keen interest in what we were doing.  He will be greatly missed. …

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 in the Communication Centre. In 2011, Mike (as RNLI Chairman) came all the way down to The Lizard to officially open our magnificent new boathouse and slipway, which was also coupled with the naming ceremony of our mighty new Tamar lifeboat Rose. As station LOM I had the privilege and pleasure of personally hosting his tour of the boathouse, meeting 100’s of visitors in the process. A truly memorable occasion we’ll all treasure, Mike made the day very special for everyone, he had an infectious pleasantness about him you’d never forget. His sad passing has happened far too soon, gladly his memory will be with us forever more, truly a man of exceptional standards, God bless him. (photo: courtesy RNLI The Lizard. Lord Boyce opening the new station and presenting Long Service badges)   …

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 asked for updates; most recently in relation to the stations affected by the small boat crossings work in the English Channel.  We all send our condolences to his family and friends for a great life lost too early.  …

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 who make the organisation work.  He was a mariner through and through, with a deep understanding of the human and the technical challenges involved in sending volunteers out to sea in small boats to perform extraordinary acts of rescue, often in marginal conditions.   As Chairman, his vision and leadership created the opportunity to move the RNLI forward, developing the Shannon Class lifeboats, creating plans for the All Weather Lifeboat Centre, taking the lifesaving work of the RNLI overseas and modernising many internal processes.     I was privileged to work for Mike in both the Royal Navy and at the RNLI.  I enjoyed his company and his sense of humour; I valued his advice; and I will miss him – as a friend, an advisor, and as one of the greatest people that I shall ever know. …