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RNLI 200th Anniversary Service of Commemoration at Christchurch Priory

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 17 March, a Service of Commemoration was held at the Priory in Christchurch, marking the RNLI’s 200th anniversary. The sun shone as crowds gathered to attend this special celebration.

Aerial photo of crowd standing on the green at Christchurch Quay next to an Atlantic 85 lifeboat

RNLI/Jon Sawdon

RNLI crew and supporters gather round the Mudeford Servant Atlantic 85 lifeboat at Christchurch Quay

The service was led by the Reverend Charles Stewart who welcomed everyone and paid tribute to the RNLI’s commitment and dedication through 200 years of saving lives as sea.

In the congregation were members of Mudeford RNLI Lifeboat Station and Fundraising Crew, Christchurch & Bournemouth Branch, and the East Dorset Lifeguards together with their families. They were joined by volunteers from RNLI Salisbury, Wilton and District Branch and the National Coastwatch Institution. Marking the significant event, the Worshipful Mayors of Christchurch, Councillor Viv Charrett, and Bournemouth, Councillor Anne Filar were also in attendance.

During the service, a 200th anniversary commemorative scroll that is travelling to RNLI lifeboat stations around the country was signed by various representatives of the RNLI charity, including Andy Russell who has been part of the Mudeford RNLI crew for more than 60 years.

Following the service, crew and supporters made their way to Christchurch Quay where the Mudeford RNLI Atlantic 85 lifeboat 'Mudeford Servant' was stationed. The volunteer crew received a warm round of applause from the appreciative audience and after lots of photos, the lifeboat made its way back to the station.

Christchurch and Bournemouth RNLI Branch Chairman, David Richmond-Coggan, who organised the service said, ‘This is a very special year for the RNLI, as we celebrate 200 years of saving lives at sea. We were delighted to see so many crew and supporters of the RNLI here today to recognise and pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of all those who have served in the RNLI during that time.’

Mudeford RNLI, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Tim Hewett, said, ‘We would like to thank everyone who came today and who continue to give their time and support so generously to the RNLI. It is through their generosity that we are able to continue our life-saving work, hopefully, for the next 200 years.’

Local resident and RNLI fundraiser, Liz, said ‘It was a beautiful service today and we were delighted that we could be here with family and friends of the RNLI for this very special occasion’.

Signatories of the RNLI 200th anniversary scroll were:

On behalf of the Mudeford RNLI Lifeboat Station – Mr. Andy Russell

On behalf of the East Dorset Lifeguards – Mr. Joe Reid

On behalf of the Water Safety Team – Mr. David Richmond-Coggan

On behalf of the Christchurch & Bournemouth RNLI Branch - Cdr David Hawksley

On behalf of the Mudeford Fundraising Crew – Mrs. Sally Derham Wilkes

On behalf of the Salisbury & District Branch – Mr. Ray Steadman

Group of Mudeford RNLI lifeboat crew and East Dorste lifeguards gather on Christchurch Quay green in front of an Atlantic 85 lifeboat

RNLI/Mudeford RNLI

Mudeford RNLI lifeboat crew and East Dorset lifeguards gather on Christchurch Quay
A group of Mudeford RNLI fundraising crew, East Dorset lifeguards and members of the National Coastwatch Institute with the RNLI's Stormy Stan at at Christchurch Quay

RNLI/Robert King

Mudeford RNLI fundraising crew, East Dorset lifeguards and members of the National Coastwatch Institute with the RNLI's Stormy Stan at at Christchurch Quay
A group of Mudeford RNLI crew members outside the stone archway entrance to Christchurch Priory

RNLI/Robert King

The Mudeford RNLI crew outside the entrance to Christchurch Priory

RNLI/Robert King

From L to R, Christchurch Town Crier, Jonny Rayner, Chairman, Christchurch and Bournemouth RNLI Branch, David Richmond-Coggan and RNLI Bicentenary Programme Support Manager, Becky Nelson with the RNLI 200th Anniversary Scroll
A gentleman leans across a table to sign the RNLI 200th Anniversary Scroll

RNLI/Robert King

Mudeford RNLI President, Andy Russell signs the RNLI 200th Anniversary Scroll

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.