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Celebrating and honouring the Royal National Lifeboat Institution


Yesterday marked 60 years since the Fraserburgh lifeboat tragedy in which six crewmen died as the boat capsized while helping fishing boats back to port.  A wreath was laid to honour their sacrifice.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a voluntary body, independent of government and supported entirely by private donations.  Its boats are mostly crewed by volunteers, and it launches boats in rough weather over 8,000 times a year, saving hundreds of lives.

When I was at St Andrews I remember how shaken the university and town were by the Mona tragedy in 1959 in which the lifeboat was found capsized in the Tay estuary with her crew of eight all drowned.  Indeed, the whole nation mourned, as it did in 1981 when the Penlee lifeboat disaster happened off Cornwall.  Sixteen died that night, including eight volunteer lifeboatmen.  Just how brave lifeboatmen are was shown that night when teenaged volunteer Neil Brockman reached the lifeboat station in time to join his father on the boat, but was turned away by coxswain Trevelyan Richards, reluctant to have two members of the same family out in such rough seas.  The father and the coxswain were among those who died.

In honouring the bravery, dedication and sacrifice of the RNLI, it aids and enables their work if people remember to include the body among the charities they support.  It is a wholly admirable and worthy cause.


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