Coast guard auxiliary gets royal wedding connection

  • Mar. 28, 2011 5:00 a.m.

by Alex Northcott-Queen Charlotte resident Malcolm Dunderdale, the president of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, received some exciting news from England last week.The Coast Guard Auxiliary is one of 26 charitable organizations in the world, and the only Candian organization, chosen to receive money from donations accepted in lieu of wedding gifts for the soon-to-be-married Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund was set up to support charities that reflect issues the couple are interested in.”It is quite the honour indeed,” said Mr. Dunderdale. “We are really excited about it. I received a phone call and the gentleman wanted to know about us, and well, he must’ve spoken with Prince William and Miss Kate Middleton after and they felt that it was a charity they wanted the fund to help.”As a Royal Air Force Sea King pilot, Prince William is no stranger to the work the Coast Guard Auxiliary does, and for some it might not come as a surprise that the organization has been chosen to receive a portion of the donations from the wedding gift fund.”The really cool thing about this is that Prince William is a search and rescue pilot, he uses the same helicopter that we in the CCGA use, so he knows what the organization is all about,” said Mr. Dunderdale.The Coast Guard Auxiliary is an all-volunteer organization with more than 5,000 volunteers across Canada. They are on call 24/7 and operate more than 1,500 vessels. The auxiliary responds to a quarter of all calls for assistance in marine incidents in Canada and is estimated to save over 200 lives every year.”It is wonderful for us,” said Mr. Dunderdale, about the royal recognition. “It is not so much about the money as it is about the tremendous recognition we get as an organization. No one in the organization is there for the wrong reasons, not because they are paid to be there, or because they have to be there. They are there because they want to be. Most everyone who belongs to the organization has that passion. Life here in Canada is good, so if we can give back we will.”Anyone wanting to donate to the fund can check it out at www.royalweddingcharityfund.org, or go to the CCGA website at www.ccga-gcac.org