Special service marks 200th anniversary celebrations for the RNLI

One of the country’s leading charities started its 200th anniversary celebrations with a service for supporters on the edge of the North Sea in Suffolk.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) invited clergy and supporters to the lifeboat station in Aldeburgh where the charity has run the voluntary emergency service since 1852 – although lifeboat history can be traced back to 1826.

Bishop Martin was a special guest yesterday (3 March) at a service to mark the charity’s bicentenary.

He blessed the town’s two lifeboats, the sea, and the volunteer crew who give up their time to ensure that Aldeburgh can fulfil the vision of the charity’s founder Sir William Hillary.

The mission was to ensure that, ‘Every stranger, whom the disasters of the sea may cast on their shores, should never look for refuge in vain.’

Bishop Martin said afterwards: "The RNLI volunteers in Aldeburgh are stalwarts of our community. They are on call 24/7 and will drop everything to launch a lifeboat and go and help a stranger in distress at sea. They are humble people, seeking no recognition for what can be a very difficult operation in a challenging environment, going out when everyone else wants to stay at home. I was fascinated to learn all about such a renowned and respected charity which has now operated for 200 years with the mission of saving every one in trouble at sea. To meet those volunteers, to hear their stories and to learn all about their training was a most rewarding experience for me. We should feel privileged to have such a tremendous organisation in the heart of our community.’’

The short service marked the beginning of the RNLI’s 200th anniversary celebrations in Aldeburgh. It celebrated the selflessness of RNLI crew past and present who have brought relief to many in their hour of need - and to inspire people to volunteer so that the RNLI can continue to save lives at sea.

Revd Mary Brown, curate at Aldeburgh Parish Church, said: ‘‘The crew has been an integral part of the community. There is a long-standing relationship between the church and the station, which has been honoured over the centuries with special services. With this service we hope to relaunch an annual celebration and blessing of the work of the RNLI volunteers who are so valued in this community.’’

Page last updated: Tuesday 5th March 2024 4:09 PM
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