RNLI celebrates 200 years

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The gallant volunteers of the RNLI have been saving lives at sea since 1824. Many things across the years have changed, but the courage and dedication of the RNLI lifesavers has continued to the present day. They continually strive towards their goal of saving all lives at sea. They are on duty 365 days a year 24/7 and respond to their pagers day and night to save those in peril on the sea.

On Monday, March 4, 1824 Sir William Hillary’s vision for a service dedicated to saving lives at sea became a reality in Bishopsgate’s City of London Tavern when the RNLI was born. Two hundred years later crews and personnel across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland celebrated in many ways.

RNLI 200 Anniversary service at Westminster Abbey

At 11:30 am the RNLI held a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in London. The service was conducted by the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster and was attended by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, the institution’s president. Queuing began at 10am and it was wonderful to see the interaction of the crews, volunteers and staff as they waited patiently to enter the abbey. It was very moving to observe the sea of blue guernseys, yellow and red crew and lifeguard uniforms representing all facets of the RNLI. The service was uplifting and people afterwards explained that they felt honoured to be representing their station at this service.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, gave a warm and generous address ending with:

“Two hundred years is something extraordinary to celebrate. A common purpose for two hundred years is almost unknown. Saving life is the most precious gift of all, and the basis of these gifts in the life and self-giving of God is a model for everyone. So, as it shows that model, may God continue to bless and protect those who serve in the RNLI.”

If you would like to read the whole address please click on the link https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/speaking-writing/sermons/archbishops-sermon-celebrate-200-years-rnli

His Royal Highness Duke of Kent

At the end of the service the Duke of Kent signed the RNLI’s 200th Pledge Scroll which was also signed by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Facebook posts have since been flooded with photos of the crews and volunteers from all walks of RNLI life with such happy smiles and memories made. None of us will be there to celebrate the 300th so it was indeed very special.

Image Credits: Kt bruce , RNLI staff , Mel Cook .

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