Songs of the Sea raise the roof at Rye Harbour church

Lifeboats News Release

Tongswood Chamber Choir, musical director Martin Bruce (also Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer at RNLI Rye Harbour) gave a fundraising concert in aid of the RNLI on Saturday 5 October


Martin Bruce giving the audience some background to the pieces being sung

The Church of the Holy Spirit, the roof of which is modelled on an upturned boat, was full of supporters of the volunteer crew at the Harbour. The music was varied, from Elizabethan to Edwardian and Martin spoke knowledgeably before each piece. The audience was given a mini-music history lesson which was very entertaining.

The choir was polished and performed brilliantly, the singers communicating their enjoyment of the music to the appreciative audience. There was added poignancy hearing these songs in the church in which the memorial to the seventeen gallant and brave crew of the Mary Stanford lifeboat adorns the wall.

Martin Bruce’s singing of Ship in Distress, in which he accompanied himself on the plaintive concertina, was a stark reminder of the capricious nature of the sea and of the real dangers faced by our volunteer lifeboat crews around the coastline when they go out to save lives at sea.

£570 was raised for the charity and Paul Bolton LOM (Lifeboat Operations Manager) at Rye Harbour, who attended with his family, was delighted with the result.

The RNLI relies upon fundraisers to give up their time and come up with different ways of raising money: we are indebted to these singers who gave of their time so freely to entertain their audience and to raise so much money.


The Tongswood Chamber Choir conductor Martin Bruce

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.