Made in Mann (For the Bicentenary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution)


          After T.E. Brown

Just where should I begin? With the fury and the din?
Or the massive risks and dangers to the folk who rescue strangers?
It’s rather apt, that the Isle of Man is where this project first began
With its coast line, miles and miles, the centre of the British Isles.
Just one man who had a vision and the courage of his conviction
Watching helplessly from shore, at the horror and the roar

Lifeboat abandoned on the beach, with no crew. No hope to reach
Those trapped and drowning in the sea: Rolling in, rolling in, for all to grieve.
Yet Sir William Hillary knew what the pluck of men can do
His own motto, inspirational: With courage, nothing is impossible.”
He himself would be their leader – organise, recruit and seed the
Concept of an institution. Maritime life-saving revolution.

We know the Navy turned him down but George the Fourth brought others round.
In London, Hillary’s plans bore fruit, but the Isle of Man first nursed the shoot.
A multitude of lifeboat stations, covering the entire nation
First Douglas, Castletown and Peel: with Corrans, Keggens, Cains and Kneens.
Ramsey helped research this poem. Their crew room’s like a home from home.
Thanks for your hospitality. It’s true you brew fantastic tea!

Next, Port St. Mary and Port Erin complete the list of island stations.
More heroes join these lifeboat crews; ranks swelled by Manx
newcomers, too.
A lot has changed, but still remains, the need for bravery – and brains.
Skills passed down through centuries from Norse explorers of these seas.
Would YOU defy the mighty waves, in order for a life to save?
Would YOU risk life and limb and more, bringing strangers safe to shore?

Sure, the modern boat’s hi-tech, yet sometimes ships still end up wrecked
And the fury and the din, is just the same it’s always been
Fishing boats and weekend sailors, jet-ski racers, ferries, freighters –
All rely on volunteers, from fundraisers to engineers.
Diverse backgrounds, common goal. Crews soon gel to form a whole.
Members learn a speciality. Their dedication’s plain to see.

Men and women work together, embodying Hillary’s plans forever
New generations carrying on, his work, long after he has gone.
No praise or medals are expected, but our gratitude’s reflected
By Mike’s MBE and some happy tears, for saving lives for fifty years.

For the horror and the roar remains in twenty twenty-four.
And the fury and the din are what made Hillary begin.
Showing us the way to save people from a watery grave
We’re so proud of our Lifeboat kin for bringing peace amid the din.


© Boakesey 2024. IXth Manx Bard.


All words in Italics from “T.E. Brown’s poem “The Peel Lifeboat”. © Estate of T.E. Brown.







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5 Responses to Made in Mann (For the Bicentenary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution)

    1. Well done Boaksey! A real tour de force.

      Comment by Tonnie Richmond on 2 March, 2024 at 12:09 pm
    2. Thank you Tonnie. It was an honour to be invited to write this.

      Comment by Boakesey on 3 March, 2024 at 5:41 pm
    3. Wow! Awesome work, Boaksey. x

      Comment by Christine Nedahl on 3 March, 2024 at 6:58 pm
    4. A really interesting poem with so much detail packed in. Must have taken a lot of research. Well done, John Notley

      Comment by John Notley on 8 March, 2024 at 8:10 pm
    5. Boakesey, I was writing about the launch of the first lifeboat from Littlehampton in 1884, during a visit to Littlehampton Museum last week. Your descriptions of the “horror and the roar”, “the fury and the din” bring tangible presence to help me finish my lighthouse story for the BBC Short Story comp this week.

      Comment by Tracey Chh on 9 March, 2024 at 10:48 am

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