RNLI snaps up Darling letter

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AN original signed letter from north Northumberland heroine Grace Darling has been bought at auction by the RNLI’s Heritage Trust.

The document is a thank-you letter from Grace Darling to a group of Edinburgh ladies who had donated almost £75 to her trust fund.

In the letter Grace describes the trust set up for the money raised for her after her audacious rescue of survivors from the wreck of Forfarshire in 1838.

Joanna Bellis, RNLI heritage curatorial manager, said: “The letter is important to us because it adds to our existing archive and is an excellent example of Grace writing to thank the people who donated to her fund while also explaining to them the practicalities of her financial arrangements.

“It’s written in Grace’s neatest, best copperplate handwriting, reserved for formal letters.

“We are looking forward to the letter going on display at the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in the near future.”

The letter was bought by the Heritage Trust for £598 from Lyon & Turnbull auction house in Edinburgh. £500 came from a recent legacy left to the RNLI Grace Darling Museum by Brenda Calderwood, a long-time volunteer at the museum and member of the former Grace Darling Committee at Bamburgh.

The remaining £98 is being contributed by Hilda Rook, a friend of the late Miss Calderwood.

Joanna said: “We’re very grateful to Brenda and Hilda, whose generous donations mean that we could buy Grace’s letter and allow us to make it available to the public at the museum.”

The RNLI Heritage Trust is a subsidiary charity of the RNLI, established in 2004 to care for and promote the Institution’s heritage.