Duke of Kent to name Walton’s New Lifeboat
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent KG is to name the new Tamar class lifeboat for Walton & Frinton RNLI station on Thursday 26 May at 2pm.
Walton & Frinton RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Phil Oxley said: ‘It is a tremendous honour for Walton that His Royal Highness will be present to name our new lifeboat - and very fitting in that the previous brand-new lifeboat was named by the Duke's mother in 1954.’
The station’s boat, which replaces the station’s Tyne, has been mainly funded by a generous legacy from Miss Irene Muriel Rees from Ashstead, Surrey.
Miss Rees, who died in August 2008, had had a family holiday home in Walton-on-the-Naze since the early ‘70s with a commanding view of the lifeboat and crew as they went out on a rescue. This familiar sight and her love of the lifeboats inspired her to leave her Residuary Estate to Walton & Frinton lifeboat station, on behalf of the Rees family, after making provision for her sole remaining brother.
The Rees family, consisting of Miss Rees and her three brothers were all supporters of the RNLI and also helped fund the restoration of the world’s oldest surviving motor lifeboat – the James Stevens No.14*.
Mr Sharpe, executor of Irene Rees, said: ‘Irene and her family spent many happy times in Walton. It was like a second family home to her and she was very mindful of the valuable work the lifeboat crews carry out. This guided her to make a very substantial bequest to the station.’
The Tamar lifeboat is capable of speeds up to 25 knots, compared to the Tyne’s 17 knots, with a range of 250 nautical miles. It also has a computerised Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) allowing the crew to control many of the lifeboat's functions remotely from the safety of their seats. In addition, it has advanced ergonomics to reduce the impact on the crew as the lifeboat crashes through the waves, and a powered Y boat stored behind a transom door to allow immediate deployment.
Another legacy came from Mrs Annie Clara Mabel Arnold who lived in Cambridge. Mrs Arnold left over £350,000 to the RNLI and when she died in June 2009, her executor, Mr Cross, a past-RNLI fundraising chairman, suggested the funds for Walton & Frinton, after her instruction that it be left to an east coast station.
Mr Cross said: ‘Mrs Arnold was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI. She greatly admired the crews’ commitment and dedication and the long, uncivilised hours that they could get called out. She respected they were volunteers and did not get any government support. I know that Mrs Arnold would have been delighted that her money was going to benefit Walton & Frinton station.’
A third legacy came from Mrs Anne Cormack-Evans who hailed from Melton Mowbray and passed away in January 2010. She left the whole of her residuary estate, after various pecuniary bequests to the RNLI for the purchase of a lifeboat.
The ceremony will consist of the formal handing over of the lifeboat by Mr John Sharpe, who handled Miss Rees’s estate, to Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, who will then deliver it into the care of the Walton & Frinton Lifeboat Operations Manager Phil Oxley.
A service of dedication will be held by the Reverend Tim Fletcher of All Saints’ Church, Walton-on-the-Naze, and Reverend Don Smith of St. Mary’s Church, Frinton-on-Sea, and finally The Duke of Kent will name the lifeboat. A short demonstration of the Tamar class lifeboat will take place, weather permitting, Afterwards afternoon tea will be held in the marquee on the pier for guests.
Notes to Editors
*The James Stevens No.14 lifeboat served Walton & Frinton station from 1900 to 1928.
• The Duke of Kent has been President of the RNLI since 1969.
• Walton & Frinton lifeboat station has been operating since 1884.
• To learn more about the lifeboat station visit: /rnli_near_you/east/stations/WaltonandFrintonEssex
• The picture attached shows Walton’s Tamar lifeboat - please credit John Steer.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Amy Ross, Divisional Media Relations Manager for the East, on 01473 718020 or 07786 668825.