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Poignant song in memory of Hartlepool fisherman set to raise funds for the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A man from Hartlepool has written a special song in memory of his cousin who tragically died on a fishing trip in September 2016. It is hoped that the song will raise vital funds for The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which was one of the agencies involved in the rescue operation.

Brett Ramshaw and Kyle Cullen

Brett Ramshaw composed Shining Tonight in memory of his cousin Lee Renney. The 22-year-old lost his life on 2 September whilst on a family fishing trip in Hartlepool. He fell into the water after his foot became tangled in a rope.

Volunteer crew from Hartlepool RNLI joined the Air Ambulance, Coastguard and Police in a multi-agency rescue operation. However, despite swift medical intervention at the scene, Lee could not be saved.

Brett decided to create the song as a legacy for his cousin and has uploaded it onto YouTube with a direct link to donate to the RNLI.

He explained: ‘I wanted to write something true to Lee and to ensure that he would always be remembered. The song took about three days to compose but this was spread out over the course of a week, as it was difficult to relive what had happened each time. I had to force myself to complete it.

‘The whole family is devastated after losing Lee but when his brother Michael shared the song with them, there were tears all around and they told me it was beautiful. I was so relieved as I wanted it to be something they could use to feel closer to him.’

33-year-old Brett, who works for Virgin Media, can be seen on YouTube performing Shining Tonight with Kyle Cullen, who is also Lee’s cousin. The poignant song contains the lines: 'Your life is your light, so make sure you're living it right. You look over your shoulder, one day it'll be over, so make sure your shining tonight'.

It also includes heartfelt lines about when Lee’s family found out about losing him and words about what he still means to them.

Brett added: ‘Lee was very family oriented and loving and was always seen with a cheeky smile on his face. He was a genuine free spirit growing up and loved being outdoors. He didn't feel the cold, it could be the middle of winter and he'd still rock up in a tee-shirt. I will treasure the holidays we had together growing up and each Christmas I spent with him and his brother Michael.

‘As a fisherman, Lee knew how vital the RNLI was and the whole family can’t thank the charity enough for their determined efforts in trying to save his life. The volunteer crew from Hartlepool RNLI will always have a special place in our hearts because they cared so much and did all that was humanly possible. We are also hugely grateful to all the other agencies that joined the rescue.

‘I really hope that people will click on the YouTube link and listen to the song, and if they like it, make a donation to the RNLI. Every penny can make a real difference and help the charity to save lives at sea. It will give our family great comfort to know that Lee will live on through the song and that his life wasn’t in vain. If people are inspired to donate, that would mean the world too.’

Mike Craddy, Hartlepool RNLI’s Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘It is very thoughtful of Brett and his family to request that money raised by the song should be donated to the RNLI. At what is still such a difficult time for Lee’s family, for them to support us in this way is incredibly humbling. It means a huge amount to our volunteer crew at Hartlepool. Shining Tonight is a special song and it’s all the more special knowing that if people donate after hearing it, they’ll be providing a vital and lasting lifeline to our charity.’

To listen to Shining Tonight please visit:

Donations can be made via:

Media contacts
For more information, please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer North, on 07824 518641 or at:

RNLI Picture caption
1. The photograph shows Brett Ramshaw (left) and Kyle Cullen (right).

2. A photograph of Lee Renney.

Lee Renney

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