RNLI 200 Voices

RNLI 200 Voices

Discover how the RNLI - the charity that saves lives at sea - has been saving and changing lives since 1824. You’ll hear the voices of brave lifesavers, grateful survivors, selfless volunteers, kind supporters, fascinating experts and more, all sharing their own special RNLI stories.


February 25, 2024 16 mins

In an age of selfies, photographer Jack Lowe uses Victorian methods on his quest to capture lifeboat crew from every RNLI lifeboat station. He tells us why

For a 200-year-old institution, it’s fitting that photographer Jack Lowe’s Lifeboat Station Project allows us to see the modern work of the RNLI through a historical lens – quite literally. In 2015, Jack set out on a 10-year mission in his mobile darkroom – a converted ambulance...

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The 20th Chairman of the RNLI reflects on why 200 years of lifesaving connects us all

What does it mean to be part of the RNLI? In his lifelong connection with our charity, Charles Hunter-Pease has been gathering stories to answer that question.

From his childhood hearing the maroons fire and awaiting the Filey lifeboat crew’s safe return, Charles has gone on to support the RNLI as both a businessman and a volunteer. When he became...

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February 23, 2024 10 mins

At the RNLI, we don’t just answer calls for help. Alison Murphy on the privilege of hearing from our supporters

Phone the RNLI to ask a question, make a donation or just have a chat, and you’ll speak to Alison or one of her 26-strong team. For more than 20 years, the Supporter Experience Manager has been one of the friendly, compassionate voices answering your calls.

From Christmas Day companionship to lunch with royalty, Alison ex...

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February 22, 2024 9 mins

When seasoned swimmer Michael got into difficulty, open-water safety training guided him - and his crew - onshore

Many of us have been discovering the joys of winter dips lately. Michael’s cold-water odyssey started with cold showers and learning the Wim Hof Method of breathing. Now you’ll find him dipping in Scarborough’s North or South Bay several times a week. For Michael, getting into chilly water and warming up onshore boosts ...

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February 21, 2024 15 mins

When Dom Jackson went missing while kayaking in 2017, a 5-day search ensued. Since his death, his sister Ellie has called on others to take vital steps to keep themselves safe at sea 

It wasn’t unusual for Dom to head off on an outdoor adventure - he had an adventurous spirit - but when he failed to return home after a lone kayaking trip, Ellie knew it was serious. Lost at sea, in freezing conditions, his body was found by the RNL...

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February 20, 2024 13 mins

Protection, layering, flexibility – the team behind our latest crew kit explain what makes the ultimate ‘cape’ for lifeboat heroes

Which reflective material shines through fog? How high should a jacket collar be to protect crew in the harshest conditions? 

These questions – and more – have been put to the test by the Helly Hansen Pro team, who partnered with the RNLI to develop our new crew kit in 2018. Category Manager Oliver Flas...

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February 19, 2024 15 mins

To survive for over 4 hours in freezing waters, two friends turn their thoughts to home

Benny Thomson remembers 25 November 2012 as the day that changed his life forever. It would set him on a new career path, and on a course to volunteer beside his rescuers at Broughty Ferry RNLI.

On an ill-fated jet ski trip, lifelong friends Benny and Gavin found themselves in the ‘washing machine’ waters of Abertay Sands.

In this emotional epis...

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February 18, 2024 10 mins

Ripped from her surfboard and alone in the waves, Ruth held on to advice that would save her life

For physio Ruth Osborne, a holiday in Cornwall sparked a move to Newquay and a sport that captured her heart. Learning beside competent surfers, she became more confident in the waves. But she always feared losing her board and being left out of her depth.

When the worst happened, Ruth had to catch her breath in the chaos of the impact...

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February 17, 2024 13 mins

After the Penlee lifeboat disaster, the RNLI’s collection boxes overflowed with donations. Val Nixon MBE fought through ice and snow to help keep up with the outpouring of generosity 

The winter of 1981 was one of the coldest on record. Snow and ice meant the RNLI closed the north-east office early for Christmas. But, on the morning after the Penlee disaster on 19 December, Val Nixon managed to get through the severe weather to ope...

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February 16, 2024 10 mins

Diane Allton suffered from aquaphobia and couldn’t swim. At 55, she confronted her fears and took the plunge 

The bravery of RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews is clear to see. But courage can come in other guises – and for Diane, confronting her fear of water has taken great strength.

A traumatic event when she was a teenager left Diane with aquaphobia. For years she avoided water until World Drowning Prevention Day 2023, when she hear...

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The late John Sharp’s gift to the RNLI honours his remarkable family history in helping to save lives at sea 

When John Sharp passed away in 2019, he left a generous gift to the Charities Aid Foundation and wrote a letter to his brother, Anthony, with a list of charities to consider as beneficiaries – one of which was the RNLI. 

Anthony shares how, in his retirement, John had researched the Sharp family tree, which revealed that hi...

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February 14, 2024 16 mins

200 Voices producer and former Kessock RNLI volunteer Dan Holland on the day he knew he wanted to be a lifeboat crew member

In this episode, we turn the mic to one of the producers behind the series. At the age of 8, Dan Holland stood in awe watching Flamborough RNLI lifeboat launch into the waves, vowing that one day, he would volunteer. He literally had the T-shirt.

Dan made good on his wish, later joining the crew at Kessock for...

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February 13, 2024 11 mins

The RNLI’s Artwork Manager reveals the painstaking work that goes into colourising the charity’s archive photos, and reveals the stories behind three of them

Extraordinary stories from ordinary people deserve to be remembered. And 200 Voices is one way in which the RNLI is ensuring that these stories are not forgotten. But it’s not the only way. David Constant leads the RNLI's Artwork team - who usually lay out the charity's commun...

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February 12, 2024 17 mins

From polishing the lifeboat station brass as a child, to seeing his own son join the crew, Mike Picknett’s connection to the RNLI is lifelong 

Man and boy – and beyond. That’s the way to describe Mike Picknett’s service with the RNLI. Currently Lifeboat Operations Manager at Redcar Lifeboat Station, Mike was sweeping the lifeboat station floor at the tender age of nine, and his family’s connection with the lifeboat goes back genera...

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February 11, 2024 9 mins

After losing her brother to the sea in 2020, Terri Peay is taking on a 200km challenge on behalf of the RNLI, which helped her family in an hour of need 

Exercise as therapy is a strategy many of us are familiar with – and it’s her passion for running that helps Terri Peay cope with the death of her brother, Dan, whose body was recovered from the sea by the RNLI. 

Determined to give something back to the organisation that brought h...

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February 10, 2024 10 mins

When Evan Chrisp was pulled out to sea by a rip current his father feared for his son’s life – but a simple, powerful message Evan had seen at the cinema helped save him 

It was every parent’s nightmare. Simon Chrisp had taken his son Evan and a group of his friends to the beach when disaster struck. Simon recalls the moment he realised Evan was in grave danger in the sea and recounts the turmoil he endured, fighting his instinct t...

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February 9, 2024 9 mins

In 1861, all but one of the RNLI Whitby crew died when their lifeboat capsized. David Freeman reveals what saved his ancestor, Henry Freeman 

In Whitby, they’re planning to add a new statue to the Whitby Sculpture Trail – a series that depicts notable figures in homage to the heritage and history of the town. The new sculpture – part of a planned RNLI-themed garden – will be of a silver-medal-winning RNLI lifesaver by the name of H...

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February 8, 2024 12 mins

The first female helm in the 170-year history of RNLI Cullercoats, Anna Heslop has helped pave the way for other women to get onboard - including her mum  

Anna joined Cullercoats Lifeboat Station at 17, and for a while, was the only female at the station. Now, there are nine women involved, including Anna’s partner, Jane, and Anna’s mother, who is Lifeboat Operations Manager. 

Anna talks about her experience of being a female helm...

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Sliney skills: The Spiderman illustrator on saving lives for real

Will Sliney is a man with a lot to live up to. In his day job as a graphic artist, he spends his time in the company of heroes such as Spider-Man. But the Marvel and Star Wars illustrator has an illustrious backstory himself. Will is a volunteer with the Ballycotton lifeboat crew, continuing a family tradition that dates back to at least great-grandfather Patsy Sline...

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February 6, 2024 10 mins

Cromer veteran Ted Luckin BEM shares his memories of Henry Blogg, the RNLI’s most decorated lifesaver

The word ‘legend’ is often used lightly. But Henry Blogg truly was one. During 53 years’ service at Cromer, the RNLI’s most decorated crew member helped to save 873 lives. Former Cromer Helm Ted Luckin knew Henry, and in this episode he shares his memories of the man.

Over 6 decades, Ted has performed almost every role at the stati...

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