Best-selling author raises funds for RNLI Ilfracombe

Lifeboats News Release

Ann Cleeves OBE, author of the Shetland, Vera and Matthew Venn series, wows Ilfracombe audience

RNLI/Neil Perrin

Ann Cleeves OBE
After the event had had to be postponed once because of Covid and then Storm Eunice threatened to jeopardise the rescheduled event, Ann Cleeves successfully arrived in Ilfracombe on Saturday and, alongside her TV Producer, Angie Daniell, entertained a Landmark Theatre bursting at the seams.

It was a entertaining afternoon and Ann, recently awarded an OBE for her services to libraries, shared many stories about her life in North Devon years ago, and the creative process behind her writing and her characters.

We learnt that Ann writes her best-selling books in her pyjamas, and that the idea for the The Long Call began when she was on a walk with her friend at Crow Point. 'This would be a good place to put a body' she thought. And so it was! The Matthew Venn series was born.

The event launched the paperback of the next book in the Matthew Venn series, the Heron's Cry, and each member of the audience was given a signed copy. Discussion are currently taking place about ITV serialising the book. Are we soon to see the film cameras back in North Devon? Ann also let slip that she is currently writing the third book in the series? When asked what happens to Matthew in this third book, Ann shrugged her shoulders. She knows no more than we do; when she begins writing, she has no idea what will happen to the characters until the words land on the page.

Ann chose RNLI Ilfracombe to benefit from the event, as a thank you to the lifeboat service for a rescue of her husband and his friend when he was a warden in the Scottish tidal island of Hildbre many years ago.

Jo Bolton, Chair of RNLI Ilfracombe, was delighted to have received the support of Ann after such a testing time for the organisation during the Pandemic:

‘As with so many individuals, families and organisations, it has been a challenging two years for the RNLI in Ilfracombe. While our volunteer crew have, of course, continued to provide a 24 hour search and rescue service,
Covid restrictions have meant that fundraising has been very difficult. So to see, despite the stormy weather, the Landmark Theatre filled with so many people on Saturday afternoon was a joyous experience. We are enormously grateful to the Theatre for putting this event on without taking a penny for themselves and, of course, to Ann for being so generous as to support the RNLI in this way. It could not been a better start to what we are hoping is a great year of events and activities to support the invaluable work of our lifeboat station in Ilfracombe.’

After the event, Ann remained in the theatre foyer meeting members of the audience and writing personal messages in their copies of the Heron's Call before she began the long journey back to Northumberland.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Gudrun Limbrick, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Ilfracombe RNLI, on 07713430327 or [email protected]

About RNLI Ilfracombe

There has been a lifeboat in Ilfracombe Harbour for nearly 200 years. We currently have 49 volunteers, one paid member of staff and two lifeboats – the small, manoeuvrable ILB (inshore lifeboat) named The Deborah Brown III and the large, self-righting ALB (all-weather lifeboat) called The Barry and Peggy High Foundation. Our current lifeboat house was opened in 1996. We provide a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week search and rescue service.

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 over 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 142,200 lives.

RNLI/Neil Perrin

Taking questions from the audience

RNLI/Neil Perrin

Angie Daniell, TV Prooducer with Ann Cleeves

RNLI/Neil Perrin

Ann Cleeves signing copies of her books

RNLI/Neil Perrin

Ann Cleeves with RNLI Ilfracombe fundraising volunteers

RNLI/Neil Perrin

Ann Cleeves signing copies of her books

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.

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