RNLI Bi-centenary Tribute held on Sunday 9 June

Here are some photos and the Tribute delivered by Rob Blann to mark the Bi-centenary of the RNLI.

RNLI 200 at Worthing Lifeboat Memorial Garden 9/6/24

When the RNLI was founded, 200 years ago, never before, had there been such a need, to organise a rescue service, covering our extensive British coastline. A coastline with, more than 2,000 shipwrecks, every year.

Worthing itself, had its fair number of wrecks, but, calls for a lifeboat to be stationed here, went unheeded, even when 11 local fishermen drowned, on a rescue mission to the Lalla Rookh, at the height of a violent storm in 1850.

So, Worthing ventured alone, and managed to raise sufficient money, for an independent, self-righting lifeboat, to be stationed here from 1854, with a lifeboat house. After operating successfully for 11 years, the RNLI took over the running of the station, building a new lifeboat and a new lifeboat house.

Since 1824, volunteer crews around the country, have launched the lifeboats, more than 380,000 times, saving more than, 144,000 people, that’s 2 lives every day, over the past 200 years.

Now this year 2024, not only marks a milestone, for the RNLI, it is also the 80th anniversary of D-Day.   (1 minute silence)

Over the course of the Second World War, the RNLI continued to operate, and saved 6,376 lives. Lifeboat crews towed vessels loaded with explosives, navigated minefields, and rescued, airmen, who’d been shot down, including those from enemy planes.

The RNLI has a ‘One Crew’ pledge, to save without judgment, every person it can, staying true to Sir William Hillary’s vision, when he founded the institution.

Today, the Institution operates 238 lifeboat stations. Each has a Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM), who is contacted by the Coastguard, when a 999 call is received. If, a launch is agreed, the coastguard then pages the crew. They drop everything – work, family, friends – to run to the rescue.


One of those Lifeboat Operations Managers, from Sussex, took part in the Bi-Centenary Thanksgiving Service, at Westminster Abbey, on 4th March. Roger Cohen, LOM at Brighton and Newhaven, recited the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ Pledge.

Today, we pay tribute to the many hundreds of lifeboat crew, who lost their lives in service, saving others. While remembering in particular, our own brave lifeboatmen, and fishermen, here, at their memorial garden, on the beach.

The pledge reads: ‘Whoever we are, wherever we are from, we are one crew, ready to save lives. We’re powered by passion, talent and kindness, like generations of selfless, lifesavers before us. This is our watch, we lead the way, valuing each other, trusting each other, depending on one another, volunteering to face the storm together. Knowing that, with courage, nothing is impossible. That, is what has always driven us, to save every one we can. It’s what makes every one of us, a lifesaver.’

Rob Blann

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