TRIBUTES have been paid to Penarth community stalwart Pauline ‘Buddy’ Thompson – AKA 'the Lifeboat Lady' – who died peacefully aged 97.

Buddy was a well-known and much- loved member of the Penarth community for most of her life, both though her work for the RNLI - for which she was awarded an MBE in 2006 - and as the owner of St Aubin Nursery from 1965 to 1990.

She was born in Victoria Road in July 1925. Her childhood was spent between Penarth and Chantilly in France. She was 14 and in Penarth when war was declared.

Penarth Times:

During the “phoney war” the family returned to France, which is where she spent the war. As a fluent English and French speaker, she helped the resistance with escaping allied airman. When the family was liberated in June 1944, Buddy joined with the Americans and stayed with them until she returned to Penarth in the 1950s with two young children.

Buddy soon became involved with the Penarth Guild of the RNLI; her grandmother had been its first chairperson as the honorary secretary – a role she held for more than 30 years. Some of her greatest delights were the opening of the lifeboat station on the Esplanade and being invited to name one of the D class lifeboats.

Penarth Times:

St Aubin Nursery was set up by Buddy and a friend in what was then her family home on Archer Road. Many people in Penarth over the age of 35 will have attended the nursery during Buddy’s 25 years running it. 

In her later years Buddy was President of the Anglo–French Society and continued to be involved with lifeboats; she was delighted to accept the offer of the Presidency of the Penarth Branch.

Buddy retired in 2018 at the age of 93.

Penarth Times:

With the wonderful support of her daughter Debbie, her granddaughters, and Marie Curie Hospice at Home she died peacefully at home.

Buddy's funeral cortege will pass the Penarth Lifeboat Station at around 2.30pm on Thursday, September 15. Donations would be welcomed for the RNLI via