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Cromer RNLI celebrates RNLI’s 200th anniversary

Lifeboats News Release

Today (4 March) the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will celebrate 200 years of saving lives at sea – thanks to volunteers, like those at Cromer lifeboat station, giving their time to save others, all funded by voluntary public donations.

RNLI/Harry Stimpson

Cromer's all weather lifeboat

On the day the charity turns 200, the RNLI has revealed its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved an incredible 146,277 lives during its two centuries of lifesaving.

Cromer RNLI lifeboat station was founded in 1804 and then became part of the RNLI, and in that time its crews have launched the lifeboats 1435 times and saved 1294 lives.

The outstanding figure in the history of Cromer is Henry George Blogg who became a member of the Cromer crew in 1894 at the age of 18. He was coxswain from 1909 -1947. During his 53 years as a lifeboat crew member, the Cromer lifeboats had been on service 387 times and rescued 873 lives.

His record is without equal in the history of the Institution. No lifeboat crew member has received so many decorations for gallantry. He won the Gold Medal of the Institution, which is only given for conspicuous gallantry, three times. He won the Silver Medal four times. He also held the George Cross and the British Empire Medal.

Paul Watling from Cromer RNLI says: 'The RNLI has been saving lives for 200 years; we are the latest generation carrying on the lifesaving work which has been carried out by many generations before us. On Sunday 3 March we had a commemorative launch of Cromer’s all-weather lifeboat to celebrate the 200 years of lifesaving work will included a dedication written by one of the volunteers and was read by one the crew prior to the launch. It was a very special occasion and it was great to share the moment with members of the public who came along as we reflected on this incredible milestone.'

Clare Stagg, volunteer press officer at Cromer RNLI said: 'I am so proud to be part of the RNLI. I started volunteering 18 months ago, but I have been a supporter of the RNLI for many years. My father in law was one of the many lives that has been saved by the RNLI - back in 1963. He went on to have a son (my husband) and so if his life hadn't been saved then my life would be very different. The RNLI doesn't just save lives it saves generations of families.'

Founded in a London tavern on 4 March 1824 following an appeal from Sir William Hillary, who lived on the Isle of Man and witnessed many shipwrecks, the RNLI has continued saving lives at sea throughout the tests of its history, including tragic disasters, funding challenges and two World Wars.

Two centuries have seen vast developments in the lifeboats and kit used by the charity’s lifesavers – from the early oar-powered vessels to today’s technology-packed boats, which are now built in-house by the charity; and from the rudimentary cork lifejackets of the 1850s to the full protective kit each crew member is now issued with.

The RNLI’s lifesaving reach and remit has also developed over the course of 200 years. Today, it operates 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, including four on the River Thames, and has seasonal lifeguards on over 240 lifeguarded beaches around the UK. It designs and builds its own lifeboats and runs domestic and international water safety programmes.

While much has changed in 200 years, two things have remained the same – the charity’s dependence on volunteers, who give their time and commitment to save others, and the voluntary contributions from the public which have funded the service for the past two centuries.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, says:

‘It has been an honour and a privilege to be at the helm of the RNLI for the past five years, and to see the charity reach its bicentenary. For a charity to have survived 200 years based on the time and commitment of volunteers, and the sheer generosity of the public donating to fund it, is truly remarkable. It is through the courage and dedication of its incredible people that the RNLI has survived the tests of time, including tragic losses, funding challenges, two World Wars and, more recently, a global pandemic.

‘Today, we mark the bicentenary of the RNLI. We remember the achievements and commitment of all those who have been part of the RNLI family over the past two centuries; we celebrate the world-class lifesaving service we provide today, based on our 200 years of learning, expertise and innovation, and we hope to inspire future generations of lifesavers and supporters who will take the RNLI into its next century and beyond.

‘I am immensely grateful to everyone who is involved with the charity – our volunteers, supporters and staff. This is our watch and it is our role to keep our charity safe and secure so it can continue to save lives into the future, as we strive in our vision to save every one.’

Throughout its bicentenary year, the charity is running events and activities to remember its important history and celebrate the modern lifesaving service it is today, while hoping to inspire generations of future lifesavers and supporters.

For further information about the RNLI’s 200th anniversary, visit

Notes to Editors

  • Statistics from RNLI Operational Data from 4 March 1824 to 31 December 2023 inclusive. A life saved shows how many of the people helped by the RNLI would have lost their life had the RNLI not been there.
  • Click here to access the RNLI 200th anniversary media pack, which contains a selection of RNLI archive images from key points in the charity’s history, an RNLI history timeline, and a film of ‘200 years in 200 seconds’ – all of which can be downloaded.

Media contacts

For more information please contact Clare Stagg, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer: [email protected] the RNLI press office on 01202 336789 / [email protected].

RNLI 1942 - Coxswain Cromer Lifeboat

Henry Blogg

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.