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PICTURES: RNLI’s Invergordon volunteers add names to 200th anniversary scroll on UK tour


By Philip Murray

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Signing the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Signing the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.

RNLI volunteers in Invergordon have added their signatures to a special scroll touring the UK to mark the lifesaving charity’s 200th anniversary.

The Connecting Communities Scroll, which is made of bamboo paper and contained within a custom-made case constructed from the wheelhouse casing of a Shannon Class lifeboat, has been visiting Highland stations in recent days.

And it stopped off at the RNLI station in Invergordon on July 4, where volunteers gathered to see three of them add their signatures to it.

Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.

The scroll has already been on quite a journey, having started its route at the anniversary Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. It will continue travelling until October, when it will end its journey in Douglas on the Isle of Man, the former home of Sir William Hillary who created the institution.

Individuals will be invited to sign the RNLI pledge on behalf of their stations, in recognition of all the RNLI has achieved to date.

The three Invergordon signatories were selected from across the Invergordon RNLI community. They were David Lipp, Kevin Dent and Susan Veitch. The stop in Invergordon was the 158th stop for the scroll and the 106th lifeboat station to sign.

David Lipp began his RNLI career in 1974, from the inception of the lifeboat station in Invergordon, and this 50-year career has seen him progress from crew through to coxswain, fundraising, lifeboat management group chair, launch authority and now honorary station president. David became the 452nd signature on the scroll.

Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.

Kevin Dent, represented lifeboat operations for his 37 years as the full-time station mechanic before retiring in 2020 but continuing to volunteer as a crew member until May 2024, where his role is now becoming a launch authority. Kevin became the 453rd signature on the scroll

Susan Veitch represented the stations visits team where Susan has transformed the visitor experience, and her management skills and ensured a positive welcoming experience to those coming to the station to visit their loved ones on the RNLI’s first Launch a Memory Shannon Class Lifeboat. Susan was the 454th signature on the scroll

David Lipp said on signing: ‘I am deeply honoured to have signed the RNLI 200 Scroll at the Invergordon Lifeboat Station. This momentous occasion celebrates the remarkable history and contributions of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in saving lives at sea for two centuries. The dedication and bravery of the volunteers at Invergordon, and indeed at all RNLI stations, are truly inspiring. It is a privilege to be part of this legacy, and I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Invergordon Lifeboat Station for their unwavering commitment to this noble cause

Signing the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Signing the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.

Kevin Dent said: “I was delighted to be invited to sign on the scroll to celebrate 200 years of the RNLI. It is a historic event to think that a much-needed and charitable institution has run for 200 years on public donations and I am privileged to be part of this history for just over 41 years

Susan Veitch added: “I felt truly privileged and humbled to be asked to sign the RNLI 200 Scroll on behalf of the Invergordon Lifeboat Station Visits Team and all our Launch Memory supporters, whose loved ones are commemorated on Agnes AP Barr. This honour reflects the dedication and unity of our community in supporting the lifesaving mission of the RNLI.’

The station presented Connecting Communities driver Chris Smith with an Invergordon RNLI slate of our Shannon Class Lifeboat ‘RNLB Agnes AP Barr’ in the sunset on her crew training passages in 2020 as a token of appreciation.

Signing the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Signing the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.

The event was attended by volunteer crew members, the lifeboat operations team, fundraising members and the visits team, who all enjoyed tea/coffee and baking before the scroll left towards the next destination.

The scroll, which is printed on bamboo paper to ensure the enduring clarity of the signatures, is mounted in a bespoke case created by apprentices at the Inshore Lifeboat Centre on the Isle of Wight.

It is made from the wheelhouse casing of a Shannon Class lifeboat and adorned with metal cleats for handles, continuing the nautical theme. The spindle attached to the scroll was created by Technician Boatbuilder David Martin of the All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, who crafted the spindle ends using a 19th-century flagpole from Ramsey Lifeboat Station, Isle of Man.

Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.

This flagpole dates back to the early 1890s when Ramsey's Norbury Boathouse was built. The scroll is being transported from one RNLI community to the next in a specially designed all-electric Ford E-Transit van.

“he five-metre scroll is inscribed with the RNLI’s One Crew pledge, which outlines Sir William Hillary’s vision when he launched the charity in 1824. It reads: ‘Whoever we are, wherever we are from, we are one crew, ready to save lives. We’re powered by passion, talent and kindness, like generations of selfless lifesavers before us. This is our watch, we lead the way, valuing each other, trusting each other, depending on one another, volunteering to face the storm together. Knowing that, with courage, nothing is impossible. That is what has always driven us to save everyone we can. It's what makes every one of us a lifesaver.”

Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
Scenes from the signing of the scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
The signed scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.
The signed scroll. Picture: RNLI Invergordon.

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