What is now known as The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the organisation was founded in its original form as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck. This was in the year 1824 and was instigated by the actions of Sir William Hillary. He lived on the Isle of Man and had witnessed a massive loss of life to the sea from the shores of the Island.
In 1974 the Isle of Man issued the above stamps to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the organisation’s foundation.
Top left displays the bust of Hillary and the inscribed tribute “Fearless himself in the work of rescue from shipwreck he helped to save 305 lives – 3 times awarded the Gold Medal for Great Gallantry”. Top right is rescue boat ‘Manchester and Salford’. Bottom left stamp depicts the rescue of people from the ship St. George which took place close to Douglas Harbour in 1830. Bottom right stamp shows the lifeboat ‘Osman Gabriel’ on its way out to sea from the Port Erin lifeboat station.
And in 1991 Isle of Man released stamps featuring lifeboats from the five stations situated at various points on the island – Douglas, Peel, Port St Mary, Ramsey and Port Erin. The bravery of the lifeboat volunteers is beyond question and the risks to life are real each time they are called into action.
The RNLI is a registered charity and Alex Ellis-Roswell, a young man from Kent, in 2014 began a fundraising walk for the RNLI around the 9,500-mile coastline of Great Britain and Ireland. His aim is to visit the 90 lifeboat stations around the islands, which he anticipates will be completed in 2018. Should you wish to contribute to this admirable attempt, here are links to his facebook and Twitter accounts: