RNLI's 200th anniversary celebrated at East Cowes weekend events

East Cowes Lifeboat weekend celebrations
Saturday's procession to the Esplanade marked 200 years since its opening [BBC]

Parades, exhibitions, thanksgiving services and other events have been taking place to mark the 200th anniversary of the RNLI.

The festivities at East Cowes on the Isle of Wight also included music events, and the unveiling of a mural.

Councillor Karl Love said the town had "built more lifeboats to help save and rescue lives than any other town or place in the United Kingdom".

A message of thanks was also sent by King Charles.

It was read out by Vice Lord-Lieutenant Brig Maurice Sheen at the East Cowes Lifeboat Centre at a special bicentenary open day.

The letter sent the King's "very best wishes to all those gathered for the service, and to everyone attending the events celebrating this significant milestone".

Up to 80 lifeboats are built at the centre every year.

Ahead of the event business operations manager Glyn Ellis said the open day was "cause for special celebration".

He added: "It's a chance to commemorate our brave crews past and present, celebrate the world-class lifesaving organisation we are today and 146,000 lives saved, and inspire the crew, supporters and volunteers of tomorrow."

The 100th anniversary of the opening of the East Cowes Esplanade was also commemorated during the weekend of events.

The procession on Saturday departed from Sovereign's gate at Osborne House, which marked another anniversary, the birth of Queen Victoria.

The lifeboat mural by artist Daev Welch was unveiled on Clarence Street.

RNLI volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the UK and Republic of Ireland coasts from more than 238 lifeboat stations.

The charity is running events and activities to commemorate its history throughout 2024.

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