Local members of the RNLI have taken part in the next stage of the charity’s Connecting our Communities event, marking its 200th anniversary.

St Ives RNLI signatories
The St Ives signatories with the scroll. Photgraphs: Niki Brooks

The event sees a scroll, bearing the RNLI pledge, being passed through RNLI communities — lifeboat stations, lifeguard units, and fundraising branches — around the UK and Ireland. It is being signed by representatives at each location.

The pledge reads: “Whoever we are, wherever we are from, we are one crew, ready to save lives. We’re powered by passion, talent, and kindness, like generations of selfless lifesavers before us. This is our watch, we lead the way, valuing each other, trusting each other, depending on one another, volunteering to face the storm together. Knowing that, with courage, nothing is impossible. That is what has always driven us to save every one we can. It’s what makes every one of us a lifesaver.”

Beneath the pledge, printed in seven languages (English, Irish Gaelic, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Ulster Scots, Manx, and Cornish), it says: “Signed in 2024 by representatives of the RNLI’s lifesaving communities, on behalf of all who strive to save every one.”

At St Ives lifeboat station, the scroll was signed by coxswain Rob Cocking, fundraising chair Chris Salway, RNLI shop manager Emileen Williams, lifeboat operations manager James Perkin, and water safety adviser Mick Poynter.

Over the course of seven months, the five-metre-long scroll will pass through 240 RNLI locations around the UK and Ireland before finishing its journey in October at Douglas, on the Isle of Man. This was home to the RNLI’s founder, Sir William Hillary. By this time it will carry around 700 signatures.

St Ives RNLI crew
The full St Ives RNLI crew with the scroll

The bespoke scroll has been made by RNLI craftspeople using materials of significance to the charity. The wooden handle has been made by a carpenter from the RNLI’s All-Weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole (where the charity builds and maintains its all-weather lifeboats), using wood from an old flagpole from Ramsey lifeboat station on the Isle of Man. Apprentices from the RNLI’s Inshore Lifeboat Centre on the Isle of Wight have made the protective fibreglass casing and set the scroll spindles and accessories into the case.

The scroll began its journey on Monday, 4th March, at a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey to mark the charity’s official 200th anniversary. There, it was signed by RNLI president, HRH The Duke of Kent, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Dean of Westminster, and the charity’s chair and chief executive.

“The Connecting our Communities relay is one of the most significant events of the RNLI’s 200th anniversary year as it’s all about our people,” said Anjie Rook, RNLI associate director, who is overseeing the 200th anniversary programmes.

For 200 years, it is people who have made the RNLI what it is – from our brave lifesavers who risk their lives to save others, to the committed fundraisers and generous donors who fund our lifesaving work.

‘We asked our communities to express interest in participating in this event and we have been overwhelmed by the response. We’re thrilled to have representation from our stations, lifeguard units, and fundraising branches across the UK and Ireland.”