Top author visits Ilfracombe for RNLI celebration

Number one bestselling author, Ann Cleeves, will return to Ilfracombe’s Landmark Theatre next month for a special 200-year RNLI anniversary event, and to mark the paperback publication of The Raging Storm, the latest book in her Devon series.

Ann last visited the theatre in February 2022 for an event on stage with Angie Daniels, producer for The Long Call ITV series filmed in North Devon. For this year’s event; The Raging Storm, Stories From the Sea, Ann will be joined on stage by Ilfracombe RNLI crew members to share their rescue stories from the sea.

Ann will also talk about the RNLI rescue of her late husband Tim, which inspired the new book. Ann said: “I’m delighted to be returning to Ilfracombe’s beautiful Landmark Theatre to celebrate the wonderful work done by the RNLI.

The new Matthew Venn book, The Raging Storm, features a lifeboat rescue and I have a very personal reason for being grateful to the Institute. When we were first married, my husband was rescued after an accident at sea, and the lifeboat volunteers and crew gave us another 40 years together.”

Joining Ann on stage will be Stuart Carpenter and Gillian Cole, two very experienced members of lfracombe’s lifeboat crew. Stuart joined RNLI Ilfracombe as a volunteer when he was just 16 years old. He started as a member of the shore crew, helping the boats to launch and recovery as efficiently and safely as possible.

Over the past three decades, he has progressed to being a mechanic, Systems Technician and then coxswain on the all-weather lifeboat, The Barry and Peggy High Foundation. Last year he was appointed as a full-time Coxswain Mechanic at the station and featured on Saving Lives at Sea.

Gillian Cole, a community physiotherapist, has been a volunteer with RNLI Ilfracombe for around 12 years. She has trained up to the level of helm of the inshore boat, navigator on the all-weather lifeboat and also is now the volunteer training co-ordinator. Gillian also provides care for rescued casualties who may be injured.

The event takes place at the Landmark Theatre on Sunday March 17th at 2pm. Tickets cost £15 to include a signed copy of the Raging Storm and a £2 donation to the RNLI. For details visit

Local News – The Ilfracombe Magazine