Orcadian distiller creates and donates hand sanitiser to all Scottish stations

Lifeboats News Release

The owners of Orkney Distilling Ltd. have, very generously, repurposed some of their distilling equipment to help the RNLI continue to save lives at sea during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Stephen and Aly with their children


Stephen and Aly with their children

The distiller, based in Kirkwall, Orkney have organised the production and distribution of hand sanitiser to all 46 lifeboat stations around the coast of Scotland.

Speaking about their decision to step in and help the RNLI, Co-Owner of the Orkney Distiller, Stephen Kemp said: “When the extent of the need for suitable anti-viral hand-sanitiser became apparent Aly and I quickly decided to adapt our craft distillery to facilitate the production of alcohol based hand sanitiser fluid.

"We’ve donated to a number of NHS Trusts nationwide, as well as our own NHS Orkney and all local Care Homes, but we also wanted to ensure that we made further donations to emergency service. We’ve now donated to all HM Coastguard SAR stations in the UK, as well as to the Scottish Air Ambulance Bases. Similarly, and having already donated to our local RNLI stations, we asked the RNLI if we could support by donating our hand sanitiser to every Scottish station. We live on Orkney, and so we are acutely aware of the importance of the service that our RNLI volunteers provide, so we thought that it would be fitting for us to offer a little support in return to the many brave volunteers throughout Scotland.”

The hand sanitiser bottles have all been labelled with the company’s Kirkjuvagr Gin branding (Kirkjuvagr is the Norse name for Kirkwall) and the name ‘Angell spray’ which has an interesting back story. Stephen explains: “Co-owner Aly Kemp’s late Father, Kenny Bain was owner of the Arkh-Angell (once a revered part of the Orkney fishing fleet), and our flagship Storm Strength gin is named after the boat, and pays homage to the proud seafaring heritage of Orkney.

“Across all of our gins, our signature botanical is Angelica. We worked closely with the Agronomy Institute at the Orkney College UHI and by sheer coincidence, the specific angelica plant that they provided to us was grown from seed taken from wild angelica that grows to this day in the village of Pierowall, Westray (and not anywhere else in the British Isles).

“It felt appropriate to continue the use of Angell as a name for our hand sanitiser during this time of particular need.”

Speaking on behalf of the RNLI, Dupre Strutt, Area Lifesaving Manager for Orkney and Caithness said: “We’re very grateful to Aly and Stephen for their very kind donation of the hand sanitiser for all our stations and for their generosity in organising the delivery to every station in Scotland too. It’s great to see businesses and communities coming together to support their volunteer crews.”


RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact:

Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), 07826 900639 or [email protected]

Orkney Distillery's Angell spray

RNLI/Graham Campbell

Orkney Distillery's Angell spray
Orkney Distillery's Angell spray

RNLI/Graham Campbell

Orkney Distillery's Angell spray

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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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