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Lifeboat launches at Staithes in Yorkshire and Looe in Cornwall linked by legacy

Lifeboats News Release

Both Staithes and Runswick and Looe RNLI lifeboats launched on the afternoon of 24 February 2024, not unusual considering around 45 lives are aided a day by the charity, but these launches are linked by a legacy which has saved lives at sea at both stations since 2016.

RNLI/James Stoker

Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat Sheila and Dennis Tongue III in Staithes Harbour.

Separated by around 340 miles as the crow flies, the volunteer crew at both stations launched around 20 minutes from each other and were at sea on service at the same time. Staithes and Runswick lifeboat B-897 Sheila and Dennis Tongue III’s crew were paged by HM Coastguard at 2.21pm with Looe’s crew and lifeboat B-894 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II being paged at 2.42pm with their D-Class inshore lifeboat being launched too.

Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat launched to reports of a person who had fallen to the south of Port Mulgrave, the casualty had been located safe and well by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the lifeboat was stood down, returning to station and was rehoused and ready for service at 3.10pm.

Named after couple Sheila and Dennis Tongue both Atlantic 85 B Class lifeboats are two of four (the others at Sligo Bay and Loch Ness) funded through a generous legacy bequeathed to the RNLI by the couple. This legacy serves as recognition for the lifesaving endeavours of the charity and gratitude for the cherished moments the couple experienced while residing on the Exmouth coast. Sheila and Dennis were born in Birmingham in the 1920s and later resided in Devon until their eighties.

During their retirement on the coast, they grew to admire the RNLI's work and appreciated its significant role in the communities it served.

Gifts in Wills help give our lifeboat crews everything they need to save lives at sea. A gift in your will helps provide lifeboat crews with the kit, training, and lifeboats they need to launch. 6 in every 10 lifeboat launches are only possible thanks to kind legacy gifts. For more information on leaving a gift in your will please visit;

If you're planning on walking by the coast some safety advice can be found here;

Notes to Editor
Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat has been in operation since 1978 with Atlantic B-Class inshore lifeboats (ILB’s). The present ILB at the station B-897 Sheila and Dennis Tongue III has been on station since 2016.

The generous legacy gift left to the RNLI by the late Sheila and Dennis Tongue funded four of the charity’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboats;

  • B888 Sheila and Dennis Tongue on service with RNLI Sligo Bay Lifeboat Station
  • B894 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II on service with RNLI Looe Lifeboat Station
  • B897 Sheila and Dennis Tongue III on service with RNLI Staithes and Runswick Lifeboat Station
  • B902 Sheila and Dennis Tongue IV on service with RNLI Loch Ness Lifeboat Station

In 2024, the RNLI will be celebrating 200 years - and counting, commemorating this remarkable past, celebrating our lifesaving achievements today, and inspiring a future where we can save every one. More information on RNLI 200 can be found at

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact James Stoker, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at: [email protected] or Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Communications Manager: on 07824 518641 or, [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI/Ian Foster

Looe lifeboat Sheila and Dennis Tongue II returning to station on 24 February 2024.

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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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.