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In 1824, Sir William Hillary of the Isle of Man founded what was to become the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
In 2024, this lauded and loved institution will be celebrating 200 illustrious years of Saving Lives at Sea.
As a Manx producer, we are delighted to announce our fundraising partnership with the RNLI, launching a Coastal Collection of Spirits to mark its 200th anniversary.
2024 will see events take place across the British Isles and Ireland and we will be working with local volunteers to shine a light on the pivotal role the Island played in the origins of one of Britain’s most respected and beloved institutions.
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Distillery Co-founder Tiffany Kerruish explained the origins of the new RNLI Edition:
“The idea to produce commemorative spirits came from members of RNLI Ramsey, our local lifeboat station."
"We recognised the unique provenance and potential to not only generate substantial funds for the RNLI for the historic anniversary, but also to provide the perfect tipples for raising a glass to all those who have saved lives at sea over the generations.”
For the build-up to the 2024 anniversary, we have launched our special RNLI Edition Manx Dry Gin available online from the Fynoderee Distillery website and a growing range of retailers.
We will be following this up in the 200th year itself with the release of a limited edition organic Manx Rum that will have spent a year continuing to ‘barrel age’ within the iconic Tower of Refuge, a monument to Sir William Hillary situated in Douglas Bay.
Positioned centrally in the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man has a tremendous sea-faring history, boasting many famous mariners such as Captain John Quilliam (HMS Victory).
It was on the Isle of Man in 1824 that philanthropist Sir William Hillary was inspired to create what was originally known as the National Institution of the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck after witnessing devastating scenes from his home in Douglas, overlooking the then dangerous island coastline for mariners.
The Isle of Man now has five lifeboat stations, saving countless lives in the Irish Sea, and his Institution went on to become the RNLI as we know it today, with 238 lifeboat stations that operate around the UK and Ireland.
Heroic rescuer of shipwrecked mariners, Sir William Hilary founded the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and was behind the building of the Tower of Refuge in Douglas Bay, Isle of Man.
A Yorkshireman by birth, William Hillary came to the Isle of Man in 1808 and eventually established a home at Fort Anne, overlooking Douglas Bay. This was an ideal vantage point from which to appreciate the dangers faced by sailors in the treacherous Irish Sea.
In 1822, Hillary took charge of the rescue of 97 men from the Royal Navy cutter, Vigilant, which had been blown aground on the Conister Rocks as she tried to leave Douglas in a storm. This, and the subsequent sinking off Langness of the Brig Racehorse, led him to write to the Admiralty in London seeking pensions for the families of three Manxmen who had died saving the Racehorse crew, and proposing the formation of a National Institution for the Preservation of Lives and Property from Shipwreck.
After being advised that it would be better to make the venture a philanthropical one, Hillary eventually succeeded in launching his National Institution with King George IV as Patron. His organisation later became the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Hillary was also instrumental in the building in 1832 of the Tower of Refuge on the Conister Rock, to provide shelter for any seamen whose ships run aground there.
None have done so since that day, but the tower remains as his main memorial.
Sir William Hillary is buried on The Isle of Man at St Georges Church in Douglas. More can be found out about him here.
Find out more about the Tower of Refuge here.
Order your bottle today and support 200 years of the RNLI.
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