Dart RNLI volunteers will be in London on Monday March 4 to attend a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey to mark 200 years of the lifeboat charity.

Long-standing helms Rich Eggleton and Kevin Murphy, Dartmouth Visitor Centre manager Tracey Lucas and fellow volunteer Tina Weston, and Jake Moores, chairman of the Lifeboat Management Group, will represent Dart at the ceremony to mark the official 200th anniversary.

Since being founded in 1824 the RNLI’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 144,000 lives and throughout 2024, the charity will be commemorating its history and aiming to inspire future generations of lifesavers and supporters. 

Helm Rich said: “I feel very privileged to be representing the Dart volunteers at Westminster Abbey. It’s a great opportunity to commemorate the incredible history of the RNLI and all the dedication required to save lives at sea. It’s an honour to be part of the RNLI family.”

Guests at the service will be a mixture of volunteers and staff from all areas of the RNLI including lifeboat stations, lifeguards, water safety, and fundraising, alongside donors, partners, a number of VIPs and dignitaries.

It’s a big year for the RNLI - both on a national level and for all the unwavering volunteers and supporters in Dartmouth.

Kicking off the 200-year celebration on Sunday March 3, the Dart’s Atlantic 85 class lifeboat Frank C Samworth will be taking part in an historic 'Blessing of the Fleet’ in Brixham, featuring RNLI lifeboats from the South Devon coast, from Exmouth to Salcombe.

The vessels will gather at Berry Head at 9.30am before leaving in a flotilla along the breakwater to Torbay RNLI's berth where a special blessing ceremony will be conducted by the Fishermen’s Mission Area Officer for Devon, Helen Lovell-Smith.

Meanwhile, Dart RNLI station is working towards building a new boathouse with work due to begin soon on the former site on Sandquay Road.

The new station will massively reduce launch times and will provide the volunteers with the modern facilities they need to help save lives at sea.

The work will cost a hefty £1.2 million, and while the Dart team has been working hard to raise the money required, there is still a long way to go.

Among other Dart events to look out for this year, there will be a Summer Fete, a spectacular Garden Party, and an evening cruise,

Local businesses are also playing their part, with M&S in Dartmouth making the Dart RNLI their chosen charity for the year.