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Duke and Duchess of Devonshire visit RNLI Eastbourne

Lifeboats News Release

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire were welcomed to Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat station on Wednesday (26 April) to meet the volunteer crew, station officials and fundraisers.

Group photo

RNLI/Bob Jeffery

Group photo aboard Diamond Jubilee
During their visit the couple were briefed on how the station operates and the vital role the volunteer crew play in helping to save lives at sea. After a tour of the station they enjoyed a trip on the station’s all-weather lifeboat Diamond Jubilee to Beachy Head. During the trip both the Duke and Duchess took the helm and were obviously overjoyed with the experience. On their return to station the Duchess complemented the crew on the exceptional condition of Diamond Jubilee and confirmed how proud the whole town is that their contributions has resulted in having such a magnificent vessel to protect local mariners. The afternoon was topped off with homemade cakes served in the lifeboat station at Sovereign Harbour.

Duke and Duchess aboard Diamond Jubilee with Coxswain Mark Sawyer at Beachy Head

RNLI/Bob Jeffery

Duke and Duchess aboard Diamond Jubilee at Beachy Head
Duke of Dervonshire at the helm

RNLI/Bob Jeffery

Duke of Devonshire at the helm
Duchess of Devonshire takes the helm of Diamond Jubilee

RNLI/Bob Jeffery

Duchess at the helm at 20 knots!

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.

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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