The 175th anniversary of Grace Darling’s heroic rescue of survivors from a wreckage on the Farne Islands has been marked.
Grace Darling was 22 years old when she risked her life in an open coble to rescue nine people from the SS Forfarshire on September 7, 1838.
With her father, she rowed for over a mile through raging seas to reach them, an act of courage and bravery that made her a national heroine and a household name to this day.
Seahouses RNLI braved choppy seas themselves on Saturday to row out half-a-mile as a taster of Grace’s danger-filled mission.
They used the 100-year-old wooden-keeled former lifeboat the William Riley, which had been restored by the Whitby Historic Lifeboats Trust.
They were following in the footsteps of seven Seahouses fishermen who also set off to help, having been alerted by a cannon fired from Bamburgh Castle.
However, due to safety concerns the RNLI crew decided to complete the journey to Longstone Lighthouse in the more comfortable surroundings of the all-weather lifeboat.
Ian Clayton, who was part of the Seahouses RNLI team marking the anniversary, 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 re-enactment was part of a family fun day attended by around 1,000 visitors. A host of activities took place including a heritage trail, finger painting and a ‘Keep Up With Grace’ challenge, where visitors tested whether they could beat Grace Darling’s rowing pace.
Last week, a group of RNLI fundraisers swam six miles from the Farnes to Seahouses.
Grace was just 26 when she died of tuberculosis in 1842. A museum dedicated to her was opened in Bamburgh in 1938.
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.”