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Learn about RNLI's history at Chalke Valley History Festival

Lifeboats News Release

Visitors to Chalke Vallery History Festival will have the chance to learn more about the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The festival, which runs from 27 June – 3 July, is a celebration of British history with talks, displays and re-enactments and will be held at Ebbesbourne Wake, between Salisbury and Shaftesbury.

The RNLI will be present during the week-long festival to give the public a flavour of the local lifeboat history. Visitors will be able to get up close to the static display of the historic RNLI lifeboat William Riley, and learn about the role it had in the local community.

There will be daily pop up talks next to the William Riley based on the history of the RNLI. These 30 minute talks will be delivered by a variety of people and take place from Tuesday 28 June to Saturday 2 July at 6pm and at 2.30pm on the last day of the festival, Sunday 3 July.

Along with this, the RNLI will have an interactive presence among other exhibitors in ‘museum row’ for the local branch of the charity, with representatives from the RNLI’s education and face-to-face fundraising teams. Activities will be aimed at engaging school children and the general public with the RNLI and how to stay safe at sea.

Community fundraisers from Wilton and Fordingbridge and Ringwood branches will be present, as well as members of the RNLI heritage and philanthropy teams.

David Welton, RNLI Heritage Manager, said: ‘We’re really excited about the festival and having the opportunity to engage people with the heritage of the RNLI. Founded in 1824, we’ve got a lot of history to talk about! The festival gives us the opportunity to show people the former Whitby lifeboat the William Riley, built in 1909. It’s not every day that you can see an historic lifeboat in the fields of Wiltshire.’

For more information on the RNLI’s involvement with the Chalke Valley History festival, visit the websites below.

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Aysha Bryant, RNLI Communications Student Placement on 01752 854479 or email

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland