Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

RNLI founder Sir William Hillary celebrated in Douglas

RNLI Douglas Image copyright Mike Howland
Image caption The RNLI said the service was "well attended"

The "lifesaving legacy" of the man who founded the RNLI has been celebrated at a church service in his home town.

Douglas resident Sir William Hillary, who witnessed a number of shipwrecks off the Manx coast, began the lifeboat charity in 1824.

A spokesman said alongside founding the body, he took part in "many rescues".

He said the service at the town's St George's Church on Sunday had been so well attended that they had run out of order of service sheets.

Image copyright RNLI
Image caption The British soldier, author and philanthropist died on the island in 1847

Sir William, who was born in Yorkshire but later moved to the island, had initially appealed to the Admiralty to set up a service to help vessels in distress.

However, his request went unheard, leading to him founding the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck in 1824.

The organisation became the Royal National Lifeboat Institution thirty years later.

Image copyright Mike Howland
Image caption Current RNLI volunteers provided a guard of honour
Image copyright Mike Howland
Image caption A floral tribute was laid on Sir Hillary's tomb in the churchyard

The service also saw a floral tribute laid on Sir William's tomb in the churchyard and a guard of honour was provided by volunteers, Sea Cadets and the Coastguard.

"If you put your finger in the middle of the RNLI's rescue map, you'll find the Isle of Man," the charity's spokesman said.

"It was here, on this remarkable mass of land in the middle of the Irish Sea, that the charity was conceived by Sir William Hillary."

"He led many lifesaving rescues, aboard lifeboats provided by the institution he proudly founded, and his lifesaving legacy continues to this day."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites