The RNLI Grace Darling Museum needs you

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is looking for a Volunteer Shop Manager to support the popular Grace Darling Museum at Bamburgh in Northumberland.


The RNLI Grace Darling Museum

Just like the charity’s lifeboat stations, the museum and its shop rely 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.

Since reopening in 2008, the museum has been 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: ‘The museum shop is a vital part of our offering, and we’re looking for an enthusiastic person to take this on. We have a very passionate team of volunteers who are keen to provide the best experience possible for our visitors, and anyone taking on this new role will be part of this.

‘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.’

Marleen added: ‘For many people, buying something from an RNLI shop will be the first time that they come into contact with the charity, and as a volunteer shop manager you could be the person that engages them to support us now, and in the future. Your welcoming, organised and efficient nature will ensure that our museum shop is a friendly and attractive place to shop, fully representing the RNLI values.’

A background in retail is not essential but the ability to get on with people from many walks of life, to oversee and motivate other like-minded volunteers and to be able to deal with problems in a calm manner is.

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 it varies quite a lot - I can be working in the shop, welcoming visitors or sometimes helping out with school visits.’

Ros added: ‘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.’

If you are interested in becoming the Volunteer Shop Manager, please contact the RNLI Grace Darling Museum on: 01668 214910 or email: [email protected]

To view the full volunteer role description and to apply online, please visit: and then select ‘north region’ in the filter.

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer for the North East, on: 07824 518641 or at: [email protected]

RNLI Picture captions

  1. The exterior of the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh. Credit: RNLI.
  2. The famous depiction of Grace Darling’s rescue, painted by Thomas Brooks. Photo credit: RNLI.

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.


The famous depiction of Grace Darling's rescue by Thomas Brooks

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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.