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In 2024, the RNLI - the lifesaving charity at sea - will celebrate its 200th anniversary. Isle of Wight author, speaker, and lifeboat historian 'Noel Stimson' has authored a lavishly illustrated book titled "The Lifeboat Heritage of the Isle of Wight," which commemorates over 160 years of the RNLI's lifesaving efforts on the Island.
Noel said: “When I became the Island’s RNLI Lifeboat Heritage Officer, I was presented with an amazing collection of photographs of Island lifeboats and lifeboat stations. I felt these should not merely be archived but should be seen and enjoyed by the many who care about our Island’s maritime history. I am proud to be able to dedicate it to all those extraordinary people who save lives at sea as the RNLI celebrates its Bicentenary.”
The Isle of Wight has played a crucial role in the history of RNLI, with more than 400 lifeboats being constructed at Cowes and East Cowes shipyards. Additionally, the RNLI's Inshore Lifeboat Centre in East Cowes has been manufacturing, maintaining and repairing over 1,800 inshore lifeboats for the past 60 years.
Chairman of the Isle of Wight RNLI Lifeboat Board, Robin Ebsworth, added: “Noel’s unique collection of photographs form an outstanding record of Islanders’ contribution to lifesaving around our coasts. They show the evolution of lifeboat design, help commemorate those brave crews and lives lost in saving others and are a significant contribution to the RNLI’s 200th anniversary year.”
“The Lifeboat Heritage of the Isle of Wight” will be formally launched at a book signing by the author at Medina Books of Cowes on Tuesday 7th November 2023 at 6.00pm and will be available from local outlets across the Island. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be given to the RNLI.