Royal Mail honours RNLI and Coastguard

A new Royal Mail set of stamps goes on sale on 13 March marking the centenary of the adoption of SOS as the worldwide Morse code distress signal at sea.

The stamps were launched on board an RNLI lifeboat, recognising the RNLI’s marine search and rescue work.

The Royal Mail worked with printers to recreate the right sequence of dots and dashes along the top and bottom edges of the stamps.

The six stamp issue, called ‘Mayday – Rescue at Sea’, will run to over 30 million stamps.

Each stamp features a photograph that aims to capture the testing weather conditions encountered by RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard rescue helicopters in saving lives at sea.

Four of the set of six stamps feature RNLI lifeboats: Appledore in Devon (46 pence stamp), St Ives in Cornwall (54p stamp), Tenby in Pembrokeshire (78p stamp), and Barra in the Western Isles of Scotland (1st class stamp).

Two stamps feature the work of HM Coastguard helicopters from Lee-on-Solent (69p stamp) and Portland (48p stamp).

The lifeboats featured in the stamps launched a total of 67 times in 2007, rescuing 56 people.

The RNLI aims to raise up to £20,000 for the planned RNLI Memorial in Poole through sales of a set of first day covers.

RNLI Fundraising & Communications Director, David Brann says: “The RNLI operates a first-class marine search and rescue service and yet, as a charity that is independent of Government many people are unaware that RNLI lifeboat stations and lifeboats around the coast are on the whole run by volunteers, so we rely on public funding to save lives at sea.

“It is an honour for the work of our volunteer lifeboat crews to be recognised in this way and it is hoped that the Mayday – Rescue at Sea stamps will help to raise awareness of and funds for the RNLI.”

Pictured are sailors Pippa Wilson, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb, part of the GB Olympic team, on board Weymouth’s RNLI Severn class all-weather lifeboat Ernest and Mabel with the stamps. (Photo: Geoff Caddick/PA Wire.)

www.rnli.org.uk