Lifeboat volunteers marked the 175th anniversary of Grace Darling’s North Sea rescue with a re-enactment and a family fun day.
The RNLI crew braved the choppy conditions at Seahouses yesterday to row out half-a-mile as a taster of the heroine’s danger-filled mission.
And they used the 100-year-old wooden-keeled former lifeboat the William Riley, which had been restored by the Whitby Historic Lifeboats Trust.
As well as the re-enactment, families enjoyed a host of activities, including a heritage trail around the coastal village, finger painting and a ‘Keep Up With Grace’ challenge, where visitors tested whether they could beat Grace Darling’s rowing pace.
Ian Clayton, who was part of the Seahouses RNLI team marking the anniversary, on Saturday, said: “The days leading up to the event were relatively quiet but when we headed out conditions were deteriorating and we felt it wasn’t safe enough to do the whole journey as she had.
“It must have been a little reminder from Grace of what it was like when she went out to do her rescue.”
The 22-year-old, who lived at Longstone Lighthouse in the Farne Islands, awoke in the early hours of September 7, 1838, to a thundering storm.
Peering out of her bedroom window she spotted the wreckage of the SS Forfarshire and nine of its surviving passengers clinging to rocks.
With her father, the lighthouse’s keeper William, they rowed out in a 21ft wooden coble boat at 5am and brought them back to shore.
Her story fascinated Victorian Britain, bringing her fame, the nick-name the Maid of the Isles and a £50 note.
To mark her venture, RNLI volunteers rowed the 100-year-old William Riley from Whitby, out to sea and laid flowers in her honour while 1,000 visitors who flocked to the harbour enjoyed a day of celebratory activities. Difficult conditions however meant a full trip in the boat to the Farne Islands was abandoned and instead the team’s all-weather boat was used to reach her former lighthouse home.