UK: RNLI rose celebrating 200 years of lifesaving to bloom at Chelsea Flower Show

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The orange rose has been named ‘With Courage’ by the charity’s supporters in homage to one of the RNLI’s key values and the words of founder Sir William Hillary who said: ‘With courage, nothing is impossible.’ The floribunda rose will form part of Peter Beales’ display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – which opens to the public on Tuesday, May 21 – and will be flanked by a D class inshore lifeboat, the workhorse of the RNLI fleet.

Peter Beales Nursery Manager Ian Limmer, whose grandfather volunteered at Sheringham Lifeboat Station, Norfolk, for 30 years, has overseen the breeding of the rose for the RNLI’s 200th anniversary year.

He said: ‘I feel very privileged to be part of this historic year, especially having my grandfather serve in the RNLI for over 30 years in Sheringham. It makes it much more personal, and I just feel so proud.’

Jayne George, RNLI Fundraising Director, said: ‘The rose is named ‘With Courage,’ as voted for by our generous supporters. Courage is one of the RNLI’s Values, and our crew lives it every day. Wouldn’t it be amazing if one of these roses was planted to represent every one of the lives saved since 1824? That is more than 146,000. Thank you to Peter Beales and all their rose-loving customers.’

Supporters are able to buy the flower from Peter Beales’ website, with 20% of proceeds going to the RNLI.

Peter Beales has also gifted 250 roses to the charity which have been planted at locations including the National Arboretum in Staffordshire, the grave of Grace Darling, who was awarded a Gallantry medal by the RNLI after she risked her life to rescue the stranded survivors of the wrecked steamship Forfarshire in 1838, and several lifeboat stations around the coast.

Planting 25 of the roses outside the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, was Peter Read, who himself was rescued by Littlehampton RNLI when his diving boat sank in 2005.

Peter said: ‘Three weeks before we reinforced the windows and when we started to sink, they were the only thing holding us up. The lifeboat was there in five minutes. They are there for a reason and it is at the back of your mind like an assurance.

‘I class the RNLI as a guardian angel, you know you have got somebody out there.’

This year will be the charity’s second appearance at RHS Chelsea, after multi-award winning designer Chris Beardshaw’s RNLI Garden won a gold medal in 2022.

This year’s rose will be on show in the Great Pavilion at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, home of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The rose is available to order online from Monday 8 April. They are priced at £26.95 for bare-root and £31.95 in containers.


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