Rushen Heritage Centre opened for the new season today (Tuesday) with an exhibition telling the story of Port Erin and Port St Mary lifeboats to mark 200 years of the RNLI.

The Centre, in Bridson Street, Port Erin is run by Rushen Heritage Trust and will be open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am-4.00pm, until early November.

The RNLI exhibition revisits Rushen Heritage Trust’s first ever exhibition in 2014, drawn from the archives of the two stations by Mick Kneale and Dr Rachel Crellin, which traced the history back to the first Port Erin lifeboat, Ann and Mary, in 1883 and the first Port St Mary vessel, James Stevens No2, which arrived in 1896.

RHT Treasurer Ali Graham said: ‘This is such a momentous year for the RNLI, which began in the Isle of Man. Port Erin and Port St Mary lifeboats have served the Rushen community with distinction over the years, saving so many lives, and with this being the Trust’s 10th birthday, we thought it was fitting to revisit our first exhibition to help us commemorate and celebrate the incredible service of everyone connected with both lifeboats over the years.’

In addition to the words and pictures telling the stories, the exhibition features superb model lifeboats, and ‘junior’ lifeboat uniforms that young children can dress up in.

Run by volunteers, Rushen Heritage Centre features a series of exhibitions each season, acts as a visitor information centre in collaboration with Visit Isle of Man, and sells Rushen Heritage Trust books and merchandise. It also sells RHT greetings cards featuring scenes from around Rushen, and a selection of other books and maps relating to Rushen.

The RNLI story will run until Saturday, April 20, when it will make way for another exhibition, ‘Tourism in the South’, which will run until June 1.

Rushen Heritage Trust would like to thank Gough Ritchie Charitable Trust for its support towards this season’s exhibitions.

Kathy Potter, RHT Board Member, said: ‘We have a wonderful series of exhibitions planned at the Centre this year, with other topics including a display of wildlife-inspired artwork with Manx Wildlife Trust, Port Erin philanthropist William Milner and the tower that was named in his honour, and the ongoing renovation of a tholtan. Everything we do at Rushen Heritage Centre is only possible because of the work of a dedicated team of volunteers, who give their time to ensure the Centre is open each week and that visitors are given a warm welcome.’

A full list of this season’s exhibitions:

· RNLI 200: The Story of Port Erin and Port St Mary Lifeboat Stations – March 12-April 20

· Summer Holidays in the South – April 23-June 1

· The Art of Wild – June 4-July 13

· Manx Grand Prix & 150th Anniversary of Port Erin Steam Railway Line – July 16-August 24

· Milner: The Man & The Tower – August 27-October 5

· Rollage ny Twoaie: Renovating a Tholtan – October 8-November 2

For more about Rushen Heritage Centre, contact RHT Coordinator John Quirk at rushenht@gmail.com or on 464634.