A fifth RNLI lifeboat - bought by cruise line passengers
- Credit: Archant
There was sea water and champagne at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines today, at the naming and service of dedication of a new RNLI RGB B-class lifeboat.
The newly-built lifeboat - fully equipped and ready for action - has been paid for with £170,000 raised and donated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Line passengers,
The Pride of Fred. Olsen lifeboat was named, dedicated and handed over to the RNLI at a special ceremony at the Ipswich headquarters of the cruise company, on Whitehouse Road.
It is the fifth lifeboat paid for and donated to the RNLI by the cruise company in an association going back more than 50 years.
Mike Rodwell, managing director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said they had exceeded their target.
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“We set our guests the challenge in 2018, of £170,000 to buy our fifth lifeboat and we well exceeded that total.
“We are extremely proud of our long relationship with the RNLI,
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“We derive our livelihoods from the sea, so to be able to offer such support to a charity that saves lives in our working environment means a lot to us.
“This is the first time a lifeboat has been dedicated at the premises of a corporate partner.
“Until recently I lived at Clacton-on-Sea and I have witnessed first hand the incredible services of the RNLI. I am proud to be president of the Clacton station.
The company has been based in Ipswich for more than 30 years and been supporting the charity since the 1960s.
The new lifeboat was dedicated and blessed by Rev Andrew Dotchin, of Felixstowe - with sea water collected from under the pier - and named by three cruise passengers who had chosen the name for the new vessel in on-board competitions.
Champagne was poured over its bows by Mrs Joan Hutchings, Mrs Margaret Whittington and Mr Peter Ruck.
Rev Andrew Dotchin, the Mission To Seafarers’ honorary chaplain, said Ipswich and Felixstowe had long seafaring traditions, and lead the service of dedication, along with Rev Jutta Bruek Priest in charge of St Thomas’ Church.
Glyn Ellis, operations manager at the Inshore Lifeboat Centre at Poole said the new boat will join the reserve, ready to provide cover anywhere around the UK and Ireland when lifeboats were taken out of service for maintenance and repairs.
Lifeboat crew members from Aldeburgh, Clacton and Harwich stations were present for the handover,
Steve Saint, coxswain of the Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station, gave the vote of thanks.
Mr Saint, a boatbuilder, has been a lifeboatman for 30 years, and is now a full-time member of staff, one of only two at the centre.
“The rest are volunteers,” he said, “and from all walks of life. There were 18 trained crew and about the same number of support staff.
“We are out training tonight,” he said
Roger Lockwood, from the RNLI in Scotland, said the previously funded Fred. Olsen lifeboat - Spirit - had been involved in more than 100 `shouts’ and rescues.
He praised the dedication of volunteers,including those based at Harwich, Aldeburgh and Clacton-on-Sea.
Fred. Olsen donations had also helped with premises, mobile training units, other important kit and training costs, he added.