The Haven Players, a local amateur dramatic group based in Stone Cross near Eastbourne , are staging a brand new musical play, “Mary’s Boys” which has been written by Langney primary school head teacher, Darren Vallier and two of his colleagues, Gaynor Newnham and Michelle Pollard. It is based on the true story of the lifeboat of Rye Harbour the Mary Stanford.
In the early hours of the 15th November 1928 the lifeboat answered a call to a cargo ship in distress 8 miles from Dungerness during the worst storm that Rye Harbour had ever seen. The crew made up of 17 local men, many of whom were in their early twenties, battled hard to drag the boat across the shingle beach and into the water. Unbeknown to the crew as they struggled with the oars and sails, the aforementioned cargo ship had been rescued by a passing passenger vessel. The local coastguard tried in vain to recall the lifeboat with flares and loud hailers. The crew did not hear or see the flares and battled on for 8miles before they realised that the cargo ship had sunk. By mid-morning they returned the eight miles back towards Rye. Just about 500yards from the harbour mouth a giant wave across the sand bar took its toll of all the 17 man crew as the Mary Stanford capsized and all the men lost their lives to the sea. They were all local to Rye and the close knit community with several from the same families. The story is told via those families with humility and fondness with the help of relatives of those families who still live in and around Rye today.
A donation to Eastbourne lifeboats will be made from the proceeds of the production along with all monies from programme sales