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Darling, Grace

Darling, Grace (1815–42). One of nine children, Grace Horsley Darling was born on 24 November 1815 at Bamburgh (Northd.). From 1826 her father was lighthouse-keeper of the Longstone Light on the Farne Islands. Although Grace led a secluded existence, receiving little formal education, she was a keen observer of sea-life. By 19 she was resigned to her life on the islands, assisting her father and providing companionship to her mother. She became a national heroine when, with her father, she rescued nine passengers from the steamship Forfarshire on its way from Hull to Dundee, when it struck rocks during gales on 7 September 1838. Grace, shy by nature, found the glare of publicity unwelcome. Nevertheless, Grace Darling memorabilia and romanticized depictions of the event were churned out. She continued to live with her parents until her death, from tuberculosis, on 20 October 1842. A Grace Darling memorial and museum are at Bamburgh.

Sue Minna Cannon

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