Two RNLI volunteers are among 200 people from the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours list to be invited to the state funeral on Monday.
Mrs Spillett was recognised for services to the RNLI in Torbay, Devon, where in the seven years when she was chairwoman of fundraising the branch raised more than £700,000.
Since losing her husband to coronavirus, she has moved back to her home in Sussex and is fundraising for the RNLI in Littlehampton, as well as volunteering at Arundel Castle one day a week.
She said: “We were a very active branch and made loads of changes to bring fundraising right up to date.
“Receiving the MBE was strange because you don’t do it for the recognition, you do it because you believe in the cause – I’m so dedicated to the RNLI so, when I got the letter through the post, I thought it was a joke at first.
“I just feel so honoured to be given an award for something I really love doing.
“The Queen was the RNLI’s patron for 70 years; she was very much, we all think, part of the RNLI family so it’s a huge loss to us.
“Her death was a huge shock. To think after 70 years she’s just not going to be there any more.
“The royal family have lost a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, but I think everyone feels like she was our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
“To be invited to the funeral and to be able to pass on my condolences myself and be part of the goodbye to her is just an amazing thing – just unbelievable.”
Mr Addington followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to work at the lifeboat station in Margate, where he has been based since 1994.
During his career he has been credited with saving 13 lives at sea – though he stresses it was always as part of a crew – and more recently he has become the regional water safety lead in the South East to increase education around water safety and prevent drownings.
Mr Addington met the Queen when she visited Margate lifeboat station in 2011, so the news of his MBE and the invitation to her funeral were even more poignant.
He said: “I lead all of the safety programming in the South East, so my professional life has pretty much been dedicated to reducing the number of lives lost by drowning.
“The news of the MBE hasn’t really sunk in, and being invited to the Queen’s funeral is still sinking in as well.
“It’s in no way lost on me, the magnitude of this moment in history, so to have the opportunity to be even slightly involved, let alone actually go to the service, is just incredible.
“There are so many people equally or more deserving to be there, so I’m very lucky.
“The Queen was so interested and really supportive of the RNLI, and truly interested in the work of the organisation.
“She would often pay ad hoc visits, and we enjoyed a visit of that type in Margate and I got to meet the Queen in 2011, which was an amazing moment in itself.
“It’s not lost on me that I’m in the last cohort that had been honoured by the Queen and that’s special but also sad because I won’t get the opportunity to meet her again – but I will be one of the first people who will receive their honour from King Charles.”