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Stars show their love for RNLI’s 200th birthday rose at Chelsea Flower Show

Lifeboats News Release

BAFTA-winner and The Larkins star Joanna Scanlan was among a host of celebrities to show their support for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) commemorative rose on display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, bred to celebrate 200 years of saving lives at sea.

RNLI/Chris Taylor

Joanna Scanlan with RNLI volunteers Andy Mayo and Leanne McColm at Chelsea Flower Show

The RNLI teamed up with Peter Beales Roses to create the flower ‘With Courage’, which was officially unveiled at the show today, flanked by a D class inshore lifeboat – the workhorse of the charity’s lifeboat fleet.

‘The RNLI is a cause that is incredible close to my heart,’ said Joanna as she visited the display in the Great Pavilion at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

‘Growing up on the north Wales coast, I used to love watching the volunteers launch to rescue those in need.

‘I’m delighted that this collaboration with Peter Beales has resulted in this beautiful rose which perfectly commemorates the RNLI’s 200th anniversary and will help raise vital funds to save lives at sea with a donation from every sale.

‘As a keen gardener, the orange ‘With Courage’ flower is truly special, and I’m honoured to have supported the partnership at the Chelsea Flower Show this year.’

Other famous faces were keen to see the display, including three former presenters of Blue Peter which has funded seven lifeboats since 1967.

Anthea Turner was pictured alongside Janet Ellis and Lindsey Russell as they boarded the D class lifeboat fronting the display.

TV royalty Joanna Lumley was pictured alongside RNLI volunteers Andy Mayo and Leanne McColm, from Chiswick Lifeboat Station on the River Thames and Sheringham Lifeboat Station, Norfolk, respectively.

Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, The Masked Singer presenter Joel Dommett and Dragon Deborah Meaden also came to see the display.

Olympians Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Linford Christie OBE then wished the crew luck in winning their own gold medal at this year’s show.

Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved 146,277 lives – this equates to an average of two lives saved every day for 200 years.

The rose, created to mark the special anniversary, was bred by Peter Beales Nursery Manager Ian Limmer, who has a personal connection with the RNLI as his grandfather served at Sheringham Lifeboat Station, where Leanne now volunteers, for more than 30 years.

Leanne said: ‘The Chelsea Flower Show is always a great spectacle and it was an honour to represent Sheringham Lifeboat Station, where Ian’s grandfather volunteered for three decades.

‘It was really nice speaking to people about the RNLI and showing them our display. The flowers looked stunning surrounding the D class lifeboat.

‘The RNLI is powered by donations, so we are incredibly grateful to Peter Beales and to every supporter who buys the rose which will help our lifeboat volunteers and lifeguards continue saving lives at sea.’

This was the charity’s second appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show, after multi-award-winning designer Chris Beardshaw’s RNLI Garden won a gold medal in 2022.

250 roses were also gifted to the RNLI by Peter Beales and have been planted at locations including the National Arboretum in Staffordshire, the grave of Grace Darling, who was awarded a Gallantry medal by the RNLI after she risked her life to rescue the stranded survivors of the wrecked steamship Forfarshire in 1838, and several lifeboat stations around the coast.

Supporters can order the flower online from Peter Beales website, priced at £26.95 for bare-root and £31.95 in containers, with 20% going towards saving lives at sea.

RNLI/Chris Taylor

Anthea Turner with RNLI volunteers Andy Mayo and Leanne McColm at Chelsea Flower Show

RNLI/Chris Taylor

Deborah Meaden with RNLI volunteers Andy Mayo and Leanne McColm at Chelsea Flower Show

RNLI/Chris Taylor

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill with RNLI volunteers Andy Mayo and Leanne McColm at Chelsea Flower Show

RNLI/Chris Taylor

Joanna Lumley with RNLI volunteers Andy Mayo and Leanne McColm at Chelsea Flower Show

RNLI/Chris Taylor

Joel Dommett with RNLI volunteers Andy Mayo and Leanne McColm at Chelsea Flower Show

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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