Katherine Grainger hails the 'valuable work' being undertaken

Volunteers who keep a watchful eye on Britain’s coastline are have achieved gold medallist backing today.

Olympic rowing champion Katherine Grainger

CBE has agreed to become a Patron of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI).

NCI is a voluntary organisation set up in 1994 to

restore a visual watch along UK shores following the closure of many small

coastguard stations.

The charity now runs 49 lookout stations, with more under

negotiation, manned by more than 2,000 volunteers at no cost to the public purse.

At

the London Olympics in 2012, Katherine and Anna Watkins broke the Olympic

record as they qualified for the Double Sculls final and went on to win gold.

Katherine

is also a three-times Olympic silver medallist and six-times World Champion.

Awarded the MBE in the 2006 Birthday Honours, she was appointed a CBE in the

2013 New Year’s Honours for services to rowing.

Alan

Richards, Chairman of NCI, said: ‘We are both honoured and delighted that

Katherine Grainger has agreed to become a Patron of NCI and I very much look

forward to her involvement with, and support for, the charity as we approach

our 20th anniversary in 2014 and continue to grow as a partner in

the UK Search and Rescue organisation.’

Katherine Grainger said: ‘I am delighted to become

a Patron of NCI. I knew only a little about the work that it undertakes and

have really enjoyed learning more about the organisation and everything it

achieves.

‘So many people willingly give up their time to do tasks about which

the public are either unaware or undervalue and, if I can help in any way to

promote their valuable work, I shall be more than happy to do so.’