#MyBiosphere: Allen Corlett

In our regular feature in Isle of Man Newspapers, authors from different walks of Manx life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Allen Corlett writes.

In our regular feature in Isle of Man Newspapers, authors from different walks of Manx life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Allen Corlett writes:

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, is recognising the 200th Anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) this year. UNESCO’s endorsement is based on the charity’s international reach and recognition that the RNLI reflects the ideals and cultural diversity of UNESCO.   

This exciting news has prompted me, as a long-time RNLI volunteer, to reflect on the charity’s relevance to our Island’s UNESCO Biosphere status.

Some may question whether, with a fleet of high-powered lifeboats, the RNLI aligns with the Biosphere’s vision of encouraging sustainability.

But it is our deep engagement with the communities we protect that is most clearly aligned with the Biosphere’s values.

Our community connections are the strength and heart of the RNLI.   

Vital funding for our crews and lifeboats comes not from government but from generous supporters who walk, run and cycle to raise money, bake cakes and serve tea and coffee or join in quizzes and bingos. People who value the dedication of the RNLI and wish to be a part of our lifesaving work. We are endlessly grateful for their respect and generosity.

Through their fundraising efforts, our volunteer crews are given the necessary training, equipment and protective kit to help them go to the aid of people in danger at sea and bring them safely home.

Our volunteers, both afloat and on shore, come from a wide cross-section of Island life. They include, among others, health-care workers, teachers, plumbers and joiners, financial sector and government workers, as well as retirees who give their time to support our charity. They are parents and grandparents, sons and daughters. They are your neighbours.

Like many people, I am immensely proud that the Isle of Man is considered the birthplace of the RNLI.

It was founded in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, a resident of Douglas who saw many lives lost in the storms around the Island’s’ coast and made it his mission to create an organisation dedicated to saving lives at sea.

The Island’s rugged coastline and unpredictable weather and sea conditions have always posed a threat to seafarers.

In response, the RNLI has maintained a strong presence here. The Island is home to five lifeboat stations, each manned by dedicated volunteers who are ready to launch into action at a moment’s notice. These brave men and women embody the spirit of selflessness demonstrated by Sir William, risking their lives to rescue those in peril in our surrounding waters.

Through the tireless effort, generosity and commitment of our wider lifeboat family, our Island stands as a shining example of how cooperation, courage and community spirit can make our seas safer for all.

We are proud to be a focal point of the 200th anniversary events, commemorating our history, celebrating the achievements of our volunteers and supporters and, most importantly, inspiring future generations of lifesavers.

I am pleased we will be joining efforts with the Isle of Man Biosphere and its supporters to showcase our Island as a truly special place.

Allen Corlett has been an operational lifeboat volunteer in Peel for more than 40 years. He is currently Lifeboat Operations Manager in Peel and Chair of the Isle of Man RNLI 200th Anniversary Panel. Allen is also an RNLI Council member, possibly the first Manx person to be honoured in this way. His family have been involved with Peel Lifeboat for generations. His great-grandfather was among the crew of the John Monk lifeboat who were recognised by the Norwegian Government for their courageous rescue of 23 survivors from the shipwrecked St George in 1889. Today, his two sons serve on the Peel Lifeboat crew. Allen has been Captain of the Parish of German since 2015.

Photo: RNLI.

Posted up on 28th January 2024


If you love the Isle of Man and want to help keep it special, there are a variety of ways to get involved in UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man projects. Here are a few suggestions.

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