365-351 Doreen Barber & Margaret Morgan, RNLI Shop, St Ives, Cornwall, UK
Sir William Hillary came to live on the Isle of Man in 1808. Being aware of the treacherous nature of the Irish Sea, with many ships being wrecked around the Manx coast, he drew up plans for a national lifeboat service manned by trained crews. Initially he received little response from the Admiralty but on appealing to the more philanthropic members of London society, the plans were adopted with the help of two members of parliament - Thomas Wilson and George Hibbert - the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was founded in 1824.
Thirty years later the title changed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the first of the new lifeboats to be built was stationed at Douglas in recognition of the work of Sir William.
The RNLI operates 444 lifeboats (332 are on station, 112 are in the relief fleet), from 235 lifeboat stations around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
In 2009, the RNLI Lifeguards service was also expanded to cover over 140 beaches. RNLI lifeguards are paid by the appropriate town or city council, while the RNLI provides their equipment and training. In contrast, most lifeboat crew members are unpaid volunteers, most receive a small hourly reimbursement for the duration of a tasking which goes towards lost work pay and so on.
The RNLI is funded by voluntary donations and legacies and has an annual budget of around £139 million. Much of this is raised by volunteers like Doreen and Margaret and go towards the rescue of around 21 people each day.
If you see one of their distinctive lifeboat shaped collecting boxes, drop in a donation and do your bit!
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