Not a household name now, but one of the great exemplars of courage held up to us in earlier generations. She lived with her father the lighthouse-keeper in the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland. On the night of 7 September 1838, when she was 23, a terrible storm wrecked the Forfarshire. She and her father William Darling rowed out and rescued many survivors. For this they, and she especially, were received as heroes. A medal was struck in her honour.

She was born in nearby Bamburgh in 1815, and died young, in 1842. An old book I had, full of tales of heroic courage, impressed upon me the dangers of sleeping with the windows shut, because that, it said, is what did it in for Grace Darling.

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