Grace Darling’s relative visits Portishead RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A direct descendant of Grace Darling spent the day with his family at Portishead RNLI lifeboat station on Sunday (22 July) to celebrate the life of his late wife with the station’s volunteer crew.

Paul Darling (centre) with his wider family among the RNLI volunteers at Portishead lifeboat station.

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Paul Darling (centre) with his wider family among the RNLI volunteers at Portishead lifeboat station.

Paul Darling is the great, great, great nephew of Grace Darling. Grace Darling was one of the Victorian era’s most celebrated heroines. On 7 September 1838, she risked her life to rescue the stranded survivors of the wrecked steamship Forfarshire, a feat of bravery which changed her life dramatically.

Her extraordinary act of bravery became internationally known, making front page news and even reaching Queen Victoria. She received several awards, including a Gold Medal of Bravery from the Royal Humane Society and a Silver Medal for Gallantry from the RNLI.

Paul’s wife Pauline sadly passed away this year. They had started their married life in Portishead and returned to retire in the town about 10 years ago. Pauline’s wishes were to be laid to rest at sea off Portishead.

Paul and his extended family visited Portishead lifeboat station on Sunday to celebrate Pauline’s life and shared their memories with the stations volunteers. A special ceremony led by Revd, Philip Auden MNM MNI DL, the station’s Padre, helped to remember Pauline.

Paul said;

‘While we have an obvious connection to the RNLI through our ancestry, this was our first real encounter with the volunteers at Portishead. Sunday was an extremely emotional day for me and my family but the team were very supportive.

They were so welcoming and warm and I am so amazed by their dedication and commitment as volunteers to their lifesaving work. We cannot thank them enough.’

Dave Slack, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at Portishead RNLI said;

‘We were truly honoured to have been asked to be involved with the celebration of Pauline’s life. It was great to be able to welcome Paul and his wider family into the station and hear all about Pauline’s life and the memories that they shared.’

Notes to Editors
  • Please find attached a photo of Paul Darling (centre) with his wider family among the RNLI volunteers at Portishead lifeboat station. Please credit Helen Lazenby

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