Paramedic auctions rare Royal Mail cover for Islay RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

When Calum MacGregor, a local ambulance paramedic, was looking through an old family photo album he didn’t expect to find a rare first day cover from the Royal Mail, commemorating the naming of the Islay RNLI lifeboat in 1979.

Calum presents Coxswain David MacLellan with the winning big

RNLI/Kate Hannett

Calum presents Coxswain David MacLellan with the winning big

The commemorative envelope features a colour image of the Helmut Schroeder of Dunlossit, 50ft Thames Class Life-boat. First day covers are specially designed envelopes with attractive Royal Mail stamps and pictorial postmarks issued to mark the first day a new stamp is released. This particular one is stamped with ‘Port Askaig, Isle of Islay’ and the date 28-July 1979. Calum says, “It is unusual for a first day cover not to have an additional address on it, but as my mother worked in the post office she was able to purchase it without, as a keepsake.”.

Rather than have it hidden away, Calum asked online if anyone local would be interesting in bidding for the item, with all proceeds donated to Islay RNLI. There was a good deal of interest and the winning bid raised £150. The lucky recipient is Islay resident Derek Griffin. Derek plans to frame the first day cover and hang it in the house so he and others can continue to enjoy it while it remains on Islay.

Islay RNLI wish to extend a thank you to Calum for his very kind gesture and to all of those who placed bids to support our charity.

Rare first day cover depicting the Islay lifeboat

RNLI/Calum McGregor

Rare first day cover depicting the Islay lifeboat

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.