Garry Knight from London, England, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Before heading across the ocean to explore Yorkshire County in preparation for writing Into Thin Air, a friend mentioned her suspicion that a relative who purportedly worked for the US coast guard was really CIA. The comment stirred my creative juices and got me thinking about generating similar suspicions about my Clive Talbot character. Only, I intended to suggest he worked for MI-5 or MI-6.

In asking lots of questions about His Majesty’s Coastguard, upon my arrival in Yorkshire, I learned of the extraordinary work of the volunteers with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and instantly knew I wanted to include their work in my story.

The RNLI was founded in 1824 in response to the tremendous loss of life due to shipwrecks along the UK’s coast. In 2024, it celebrates it’s 200th year of operation. And two centuries later, the RNLI is still primarily operated by volunteers and funded by donations.

The RNLI’s legacy is truly inspiring.

Currently operating more than 400 lifeboats from 238 stations, the RNLI’s courageous volunteers answer more than 9000 callouts each year.  Since its inception, the lifeboat service has saved more than 144,000 people. In an age when more people than not are concerned about their own comfort and wellbeing than helping others, the dedication of these volunteers is especially inspiring. 

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