Ramsgate RNLI volunteers attend 200th anniversary service at Westminster Abbey

Ramsgate RNLI volunteers attend the Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey

By Karen Cox

Four Ramsgate RNLI volunteers spent the day in London yesterday (March 4) to attend a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey celebrating the 200 year anniversary of the RNLI.

Volunteer crew Clive Nichols and Simon Ellis, volunteer press officer Karen Cox and Mags Wright, volunteer shop manager from Ramsgate RNLI, joined a packed congregation of volunteers, donors, and supporters as well as HRH The Duke of Kent, President of the RNLI, the Very Reverence Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster and the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Popular seafaring hymn ‘Eternal Father strong to save, whose arm doth bind the restless wave’ had an extra verse added to it for the occasion as follows:

O Lord, entrust their souls’ safe keep
As lifeboats plough o’er oceans deep.
Lend them your courage, strength and Grace,
to those in peril, they must race;
Oh hear us Lord, a sailor’s plea,
Guide all who save lives out at sea.

Extra verse written by Richard MacDonald.

Chief Executive of the RNLI Mark Dowie gave a vote of thanks to all volunteers and also to all supporters, pointing out that for a charity to survive 200 years based on the time and commitment of volunteers- and on the sheer generosity of the public who provide kind donations – is truly remarkable. Since 1824, volunteers have saved over 146,000 lives around the coastline of the UK and Ireland.

With the sound of pealing bells, Lifeboats parked outside the Abbey including a vintage vessel from Whitby. The oarsmen of the Whitby Historical Lifeboat were the winners of the rowing race from Ramsgate to the Goodwin Sands and back to Broadstairs to commemorate the delivery, by rowing boat, of the despatch to the Prince Regent carrying news of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.

If you’d like to watch the service, it’s available on the following link until 18th March. https://rnli.org/about-us/our-history/2024/programmes/thanksgiving-services

Margate and Ramsgate lifeboat stations commemorate RNLI’s 200th anniversary