Special day of thanks in Westminster Abbey for New Brighton RNLI

Two of New Brighton RNLI’s longest-serving crew took part in a special ceremony in Westminster Abbey to celebrate 200 years of the RNLI on Monday, 4 March.

A service of thanksgiving took place at Westminster Abbey to celebrate 200 years of saving lives at sea for the RNLI. Representatives from across the RNLI network were invited to the event, including longstanding crew members Mike and Lee from New Brighton RNLI.

Founded in a London tavern on 4 March 1824 after an appeal by Sir William Hillary, the RNLI has been saving lives at sea through the countless challenges of the past 200 years, and now looks forward to the next 200.

Today, the RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations across the UK and Ireland and has seasonal lifeguards on 240 beaches around the UK. New Brighton RNLI was established in 1863 and has won an astounding 48 medals for gallantry to date.

In the time since the RNLI’s founding, Merseyside RNLI stations, including New Brighton RNLI, have launched 4,312 times, and saved nearly 2,000 lives. Across the northwest, RNLI stations have launched more than 16,000 times and saved more than 4,000 lives. In total, the RNLI have saved 146,452 lives since 1824, all whilst being funded by voluntary donations, and with 97% of their staff being volunteers.

Monday, 4 March, was also marked by New Brighton RNLI with a flotilla of lifeboats parading down the River Mersey. The B class, Atlantic-85 lifeboat was joined by Shannon class lifeboats from Hoylake and Lytham St. Anne’s RNLI, as well as West Kirby RNLI’s D class lifeboat. The hovercraft from Hoylake RNLI was also due to take part in the flotilla celebration but was diverted by HM Coastguard to a tasking just prior to the parade.

Lee Arnall, crew member at New Brighton, said, “It was a great honour and privilege to represent New Brighton at today’s service in Westminster. To see so many volunteers from across the UK and Ireland come together to celebrate such a momentous occasion was humbling and reminded me of the crucial service we offer around the coastlines of the UK. Days like today make you truly proud to be a part of a charity that saves lives at sea.”

Image: Mike and Lee attended the service in Westminster in their RNLI best. Credit: RNLI/Connor Wray

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news