RNLI Bicentenary — [Carolyn Harris in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:37 am on 26 March 2024.

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Photo of Anthony Browne Anthony Browne Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 10:37, 26 March 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Harris, and I join others in congratulating my hon. Friend Anthony Mangnall on securing this very moving and important debate. He spoke very eloquently of the work that the RNLI has done over the centuries. I know he has been a long-term champion of the RNLI and has dedicated a lot of his time in Parliament to supporting and helping it. I enjoyed many elements of his speech, including the gold teeth and the vintage Ferraris that have been donated, but most importantly the tales of tragedy and heroism that he mentioned, particularly the tale of the Salcombe lifeboats in which 13 out of 15 died. That is absolutely devastating.

I am very pleased to see so many contributions from across the entire United Kingdom. I notice that we have contributions from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and from the south coast to the north coast of England. We even had a contribution from inland, which just shows how important the RNLI is to everyone across the UK—I say that as somebody who also represents a landlocked constituency.

I am delighted to be able to offer the Government’s congratulations to the RNLI on the momentous occasion of its 200th anniversary. I am sure that Members from across the House will want to join me in thanking the RNLI, its volunteers, fundraisers and supporters for their amazing contribution to the saving of lives over the past two centuries. Through the courageous and dedicated actions of RNLI volunteers, more than 144,000 lives have been saved over the past 200 years. That works out as 700 lives per year—almost exactly two lives for every single day of the past 200 years. That really is quite a phenomenal achievement.