The new lifeboat at Eastbourne RNLI Lifeboat Station will be officially named Diamond Jubilee by Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex in a special ceremony being held next week.
Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess will preside over the ceremony to officially hand the new £2.7M Tamar class lifeboat over to the station. The ceremony, which takes place on Thursday 5 July at Sovereign Harbour marina, will formally name the new Diamond Jubilee lifeboat, which was specially selected to participate in the pageant on the River Thames over The Diamond Jubilee weekend.
The Tamar lifeboat was funded by two generous legacies and a £1M public appeal for funds, which was met with a fantastic response from supporters of the lifeboat charity. She was built by Babcocks boatyard atPlymouth, after which crew training started in May.
The naming ceremony and service of dedication will take place near the marina adjacent to Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club. The Earl and Countess of Wessex will arrive at the ceremony mid morning and will spend some time meeting Eastbourne’s lifeboat crew members, RNLI fundraisers, RNLI staff and special guests, as well as naming the lifeboat.
Paul Metcalfe, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Eastbourne RNLI Lifeboat Station, said he was looking forward to the ceremony: ‘When the RNLI first launched the £1M Eastbourne Lifeboat Station Appeal back in 2011 we were all hugely honoured. As one of the busiest lifeboat stations in the country, to be told we were in line to receive a Tamar class lifeboat was fantastic news.
‘And then, to learn that it would happen in the Diamond Jubilee year of our Patron -, Her Majesty The Queen, and that the Diamond Jubilee would be part of the flotilla in the pageant; well that was just the icing on the cake. This ceremony will be a fitting tribute so we are very excited indeed to welcome Their Royal Highnesses toEastbourne for this celebration.’
The Diamond Jubilee lifeboat was officially placed on service at Eastbourne on Wednesday 27 June. She replaces the old Mersey class lifeboat, The Royal Thames, which has been in service since 6 September 1993. In that time the volunteer lifeboat crew have launched her 960 times and rescued 1,520 people – of that number, 115 people were classed as ‘lives saved’ where, were it not for the lifeboat’s involvement, the casualties involved would have surely lost their lives.
The Royal party will join Dr Colin McKee, Chairman of the Eastbourne Lifeboat Management Group, representatives of the lifeboat’s donors, Paul Boissier, Chief Executive of the RNLI, and the aforementioned Paul Metcalfe at the ceremony.