Fundraisers have marked the 175th anniversary of a famous Northumberland heroine by completing a six-mile swim from her former home at Longstone Lighthouse.
Grace Darling won fame when she and her father risked their lives to rescue nine people shipwrecked off the coast on September 7, 1838.
The charity swimmers, who are raising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), were taken to the lighthouse in William Shiel’s boat, and he stayed close by them as they completed the five mile swim, ending their journey at Seahouses harbour. It is believed they are the first to complete a swim from the Farne Islands to the mainland.
The men, including organiser Scott Bisset, Tony Greener, Iain Ross and Jim Bridges, from North Tyneside and Gary Clough and Graham Walton from Consett, County Durham, are all part of the Tynemouth Outdoor Swimmers club.
Scott, who is an RNLI volunteer, said: “Luckily with the tides we were able to do it almost on the day of the Grace Darling rescue anniversary itself, so it all tied in quite nicely.”
The money raised will be split between the RNLI Lifeboat stations at Seahouses and Tynemouth.
This Saturday (September 7), 175 years to the day after the dramatic rescue, the RNLI is celebrating the anniversary with a family friendly event at Seahouses lifeboat station and harbour.
Grace Darling museum manager Virginia Mayes-Wright said: “The RNLI wanted to commemorate the anniversary of the rescue, not only because Grace’s deed epitomises the bravery and selflessness of its volunteer lifeboat crews of today, but because Grace is an inspiration to all who learn about what she did.”
Ian Clayton, RNLI Seahouses volunteer, added: “Grace Darling is a true inspiration to all our volunteer crews and although there have been incredible advances in kit and training, sea and weather conditions remain as treacherous and unpredictable as ever.”
On Saturday there will be a wide range of activities for families to take part in, as well as an historic recreation of seven fishermen from Seahouses who also set off to help, having been alerted to disaster by a canon fired from Bamburgh Castle. Their arduous journey is to be recreated in the William Riley, a 100-year-old restored wooden-keeled former lifeboat. The boat will leave the harbour at 11.30am and return at 3.30pm.
Visitors will also be able to see a search and rescue exercise at 1.30pm.