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Newmachar ‘fundraising phenomenon’ awarded BEM for services to the RNLI

By David Porter

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Newmachar resident Audrey Wood, mother of Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood who died in the Flight 85N helicopter tragedy of 2009 - has been awarded the BEM in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Since the tragic loss of her son on Flight 85N from the Miller Platform, Mrs Wood has raised over £235,000 for RNLI lifeboat stations on the north east.

Honours recipient Audrey Wood
Honours recipient Audrey Wood

Her donations have included the purchase of Aberdeen RNLI’s newest D-class in-shore lifeboat, named ‘Buoy Woody – 85N’ in memory of Stuart and of the other fifteen men lost in the tragedy.

Speaking of her award from the Queen, Audrey Wood BEM said: “I’m astounded and honoured by this unexpected recognition.

"I set out to do something positive in response to the tragic loss of Stuart, and perhaps it was more successful than I dared hope.

£But that’s really down to the support of so many local businesses and individuals whose generosity nurtured the Glamour, Glitz and Bubbles ladies’ day event.

£I hope, when Covid-19 is over, we’ll be able to resume our events to support local RNLI lifeboats.”

Speaking during the naming ceremony for the new lifeboat in April 2019, Mrs Wood said: “It was only following this tragedy that we as a family realised that the work of the RNLI was entirely funded by charitable donations and mostly carried out by volunteers.

“We pledged to raise money for local RNLI stations.

£In truth, this helped both us and the RNLI as, apart from raising funds, it was also a distraction therapy for us in this lifelong grieving journey of losing our only son.

“Over the past 10 years, we have managed to raise £235,000 - more than we ever dreamed possible.

£The money has been distributed to local RNLI stations along the north east coastline from Buckie to Stonehaven.”

Chair of the Aberdeen Branch of the RNLI, Fiona Anderson says of Mrs Wood’s award: “Everyone at RNLI Aberdeen Lifeboat Station is delighted to see Audrey Wood receive this well-deserved recognition. Audrey is a shining example of someone who sought to channel the energy of personal tragedy into positive good for her community: her tribute to her son, ‘Woody’, and to the fifteen others who died alongside him that day, will never be forgotten.”

Anne Scott, the RNLI’s Community Manager for north east Scotland said: “Audrey Wood is a fundraising phenomenon in Aberdeen.

"Every year, outside of 2020, she stages a sparkling sell-out event which makes people aware of the lifesaving work our volunteer crews do – and that none of this work could happen were it not for the generosity of members of the public.

"The RNLI is hugely grateful to Audrey.”

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