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RNLI Takes Part in Henley Royal Regatta in Historic Lifeboat Row-past

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 7 July, RNLI rowers from every region of the RNLI took part in a row-past in a landmark lifeboat at Henley Royal Regatta to celebrate the lifesaving charity’s 200-year anniversary.

Wiiliam Riley Historic Boat with Rowers and CEO, Peter Sparkes

RNLI/Grace Palmieri

RNLI Historic Rowpast at Henley Royal Regatta with CEO, Peter Sparkes

Although the summery weather spectators hoped for never materialised, volunteer lifeboat crew from Teddington, Hunstanton, New Quay, Galway, Larne and Kyle of Lochalsh rowed the William Riley along a section of the historic Henley course to the finish line. Volunteers from the Whitby Historic Lifeboat Trust, which owns and maintains the William Riley, also took part.

The first Henley Royal Regatta took place 185 years ago and with 300,000 visitors, is the highlight of the summer rowing calendar on the Thames. The RNLI operates four stations on the Thames and Teddington is the only one crewed entirely by volunteers.

The RNLI’s newly appointed chief executive, Peter Sparkes, said, ‘Joining RNLI volunteers from all across the UK and Ireland in this row-past onboard this historic lifeboat was a wonderful way to commemorate our past and celebrate our lifesavers of today in the RNLI’s 200th year.

Our people, wherever they are from, are united by the RNLI’s vision to save every one and make our seas and rivers safer.

It was a privilege to be onboard this beautifully restored lifeboat with this impressive crew at such an iconic event in the rowing calendar.’

-ends –

Notes to editors

The former Whitby Lifeboat was built in 1909 in London and famously took part in one of the most famous RNLI rescues, the Rohilla, in 1914. It was in service to the RNLI until 1931 and was discovered derelict in 2005 in Devon and restored by the Whitby Historic Lifeboat Trust. It is rarely seen outside its home in Whitby.

- 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.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Gianna Saccomani, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07798905515 or [email protected] or Grace Palmieri, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07855487508 or [email protected]

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.