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Grace Darling

Grace Darling is one of England's best-loved heroines, on the strength of an isolated incident which occurred in 1838. Grace was born in 1815 at Bamburgh in Northumberland, and spent her youth in various lighthouses of which her father was keeper.

On the night of September 7, 1838, Grace, looking from an upstairs window of her family's current lighthouse on the Farne Islands, spotted the ship, Forfarshire, which had run aground on a smaller island only a few hundred yards away. Knowing that the weather was too rough for the lifeboat to put out from the shore, Grace and her father took a rowing boat across to the other island and rescued the survivors, bringing them safely back to the lighthouse.

Even in her lifetime, Grace's achievement was celebrated, and she received a financial reward in addition to the plaudits of the nation. She died, unmarried, in 1842, and her memorial may be seen in the parish church at Bamburgh, close to a museum dedicated to her achievements and the seafaring life of the region.

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