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The RNLI Grace Darling Museum is looking for extra volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is looking for extra volunteers to help run the popular Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh.

Just like the charity’s lifeboat stations, the museum relies on volunteers to keep it running. New recruits don’t need to be experts on the iconic north east heroine – they just need some spare time and a willingness to learn the ropes.

The museum is enjoyed by almost 60,000 visitors a year, including holidaymakers, families, schools and history groups. It has become a firm 'must see' on the Northumberland tourist trail.

Museum Manager, Marleen Vincenten, said: ‘It would be great to have a couple more volunteers in the team. Ideally, we’d like people who could spare half a day a week, but would be grateful for absolutely any time and skills people can offer us.

Volunteering at the RNLI Grace Darling Museum is an incredibly rewarding experience and everyone who joins the team is also helping the RNLI’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards, as all money raised here goes directly towards helping the charity save lives at sea and preserving the heritage of the RNLI.’

Volunteers can give up as much or as little time as they can spare to help in the museum and will be given training. The museum is looking for volunteers who can welcome visitors and man the shop, as well as people to run education sessions for school groups.

Ros McHugh has been volunteering at the museum for about four years and says she enjoys the half-day she spends at the museum each week:

‘Growing up by the sea I’ve always been a keen supporter of the RNLI, so it’s great to know I’m giving something back to such a worthwhile charity. Spending time in the museum really is interesting and the work varies quite a lot. I can be working in the shop, welcoming visitors or sometimes helping out with school visits. ‘It’s very rewarding to see how much people get out of their visit to the museum, especially the children who are enthralled not just by Grace’s courage but also by the Darlings’ life in the lighthouse.’

Fellow volunteer Alison Hilton agrees: ‘The story of Grace Darling is such a vital part of Bamburgh, and it’s wonderful to feel part of that community. I didn’t really know much about Grace Darling and her family when I started volunteering but it’s been quite an education to find out more about her and I enjoy sharing that knowledge with the visitors.’

Anyone who is interested in volunteering can contact the RNLI Grace Darling Museum on 01668 214910 or email

The RNLI Grace Darling Museum

Following a major redevelopment funded by a £1M Heritage Lottery Fund contribution and other donations, the RNLI Grace Darling Museum reopened at the end of 2007. The museum celebrates the life of the iconic Victorian heroine who was just 22 when she rowed with her father in raging seas to reach survivors of the wrecked SS Forfarshire. The museum is run by the RNLI and is part of a group of six museums across the country.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer for the North East and East, on 07824 518641 or at

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