Ann Cleeves’ ‘The Raging Storm’ sweeps into Hoylake for RNLI fundraising events

Best-selling crime author Ann Cleeves OBE visited Hoylake RNLI lifeboat station on Friday, 15 March, as part of a series of special events around the UK to mark the paperback launch of her latest novel ‘The Raging Storm’.

In The Raging Storm, a mysterious discovery following an RNLI lifeboat launch in a fictional Devon community sparks a new case for investigator DI Matthew Venn.

The launch events at Hope Church Wirral were hosted by Linghams bookshop based in Heswall on Thursday, 14 and Friday, 15 March. Ann was joined on stage by Hoylake RNLI volunteer Chris Williams for a discussion, chaired by crime author Martin Edwards, about the novel and life on the UK coast.

Ann’s return to Wirral followed a visit with Chris last year to Hilbre in the Dee Estuary, where Ann spent the first four years of her married life. Her husband Tim worked as the island warden over 40 years ago and the couple were also auxiliary coastguards.

Ann forged an enduring link with both the Wirral coast and the RNLI in this time after Tim and a friend were rescued by West Kirby RNLI lifeboat. This experience, as well as Ann’s lifetime around the UK coast and islands, shaped The Raging Storm and many of Ann’s other stories and characters.

As keen naturalists with a shared connection to Hilbre, Chris and Ann spoke at the events about the compelling character of the islands and their environment. Chris shared his insights as an RNLI volunteer, including on Ann’s accurate portrayal of a lifeboat shout. There was also a special reunion for Ann as she met with John Curry, who was part of the RNLI crew that rescued her husband.

Ann and Martin later toured Hoylake RNLI lifeboat station, where Chris showed them around the state-of-the-art Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood.

With the RNLI celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2024, Ann and Linghams made a generous donation through the proceeds of the events to support the Hoylake RNLI volunteers in continuing their lifesaving work.

Linghams bookshop has signed copies of The Raging Storm available in store while stocks last.

Ann Cleeves toured Hoylake RNLI’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat and experienced its state-of-the-art search and rescue systems. Credit: RNLI/Daniel Whiteley

Ann Cleeves said, “It was a moving and joyous occasion with Hoylake RNLI, meeting the crew and support volunteers. And the man who saved my husband’s life all those years ago!”

Sue Porter, owner of Linghams, said, “It is always an absolute pleasure working with Ann Cleeves, who is a born storyteller. However, these events had an extra special element working with the RNLI. Chris Williams had so many stories to share, especially with his local knowledge of Hilbre Island – there is a book right there!”

Chris Williams said, “It was fantastic to welcome Ann back to the Wirral and a real privilege to be part of these events celebrating The Raging Storm and her special connections with Hilbre and the RNLI.

“Ann is an amazing ambassador for our charity and as we mark our 200th anniversary, we’re so grateful for her support and for the generosity of Linghams and everyone who donated to help us continue saving lives at sea for many more years to come.”

Image: Ann Cleeves has an enduring connection with the Wirral coast and the RNLI after her husband was saved by the West Kirby Lifeboat over 40 years ago. Credit: RNLI/Daniel Whiteley

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