Eight Bells and all's well for Rhyl RNLI station's new Shannon lifeboat.
The second of July was a momentous day in the history of Rhyl RNLI volunteers and fundraisers. They were able to witness the first time that the new Shannon-class lifeboat, destined for Rhyl in October, first enters the water.
The event occurred at the RNLI's All-weather Lifeboat centre in Poole on 2nd July at 12 noon.
The bell was rung eight times by Mrs Joan Webb from Basingstoke, who also reached a milestone on that day, she reached 100 years of age. She has been a lifelong supporter of the RNLI since she was five years old.
New RNLI Chief Executive Office Mark Dowie opened the proceedings and said that he was very excited that Mrs. Webb had agreed to ring the bell, and also to see how many supporters and volunteer crew of the charity's station at Rhyl, had turned up to see this ceremony. With that, Mrs. Webb was invited up to the stand to ring the bell, starting in motion the new Shannon-class 'Anthony Kenneth Heard' being lowered into the lifeboat dock to rousing applause.
Coxswain Martin Jones of Rhyl station said ' I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck tingling as the boat was lowered into the sea for the first time. It was a fantastic sight, and we feel privileged to be here to see the ceremony'
He continued ' The volunteer crew at Rhyl have been training hard and preparing for the boat's arrival at Rhyl on October 13th. We now have a few months of intensive training both at Poole and at home, to ready ourselves for the boat's arrival'
The money raised to build the new boat was the result of two major legacies and smaller donations, including over £150 thousand by the Rhyl station with an appeal over ten months.
The new Shannon class will replace the existing Mersey-class lifeboat which has served Rhyl station for over 27 years. The new boat is much faster and more manoeuvrable, and will get to casualties in half the time of the old boat. The station will also be getting a state-of-the-art launching tractor system, which will also reduce response and recovery times. For additional pictures and videos of the event, please visit the Rhyl RNLI page on Facebook, where there is a complete album set up recording the event.
All pictures credit Rhyl RNLI.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.