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End of an era for North Berwick lifeboat station

About the author

Image of Henry Weaver

Henry Weaver
Press Officer at Scotland.

Start quoteWe are sad to see the Blue Peter III leave the station, it feels like the end of an era. However, we are very pleased with the new boatEnd quote

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
    12/06/2013
  • Author: Henry Weaver

North Berwick’s D class inshore lifeboat, Blue Peter III, has reached the end of her tenure with the RNLI as she is replaced by a newer model with an upgraded chart plotter.

In all North Berwick have had five successive D class lifeboats named Blue Peter III since 1967. The lifeboats were given the name in recognition of the fundraising appeals undertaken by the children’s television program which have paid for the lifesaving boats.

Since 1967 the volunteers at North Berwick have rescued 277 people.

To mark the occasion volunteer crew from North Berwick, past and present, met at the station for a photograph with the departing D class. Many retired RNLI lifeboats are sold and go on to save lives in other countries around the world. It is thanks to the dedication of RNLI volunteers that the boats are maintained to such a high standard and they still have life left in them after many years of service.

Stewart Auld is now the Lifeboat Operations Manager at North Berwick but in 1967 Stewart was serving as crew on the first D class lifeboat to be stationed in the town.

Talking about the lifeboat, Stewart said, ‘We are sad to see the Blue Peter III leave the station, it feels like the end of an era. However, we are very pleased with the new boat. The D class has changed considerably since we first got one at North Berwick in 1967.

‘I remember that there wasn’t even a radio on board, we were given coloured flares to signal to shore and each colour meant something different. For example, we would launch a green flare if we required the assistance of a doctor.

‘Of course, we only had oil skins to wear back then, no dry suits, we were usually soaked to the skin just as soon as we launched and the plywood decking was pretty hard on the knees. Things have come a long way and we’re really grateful to Blue Peter for helping to fund ever more advanced lifeboats for North Berwick over the years.’

The new lifeboat is named Evelyn M and has been paid for by the Evelyn M Murdoch Charitable Trust. Evelyn, who lived in Edinburgh, took part in exercises with the RNLI, Evelyn admired the work of the RNLI and after her passing the trust was set up by her nieces, Pauline and Helen. North Berwick was a favourite holiday destination for the family. Evelyn would take her young nieces Pauline and Helen to the town where they enjoyed playing on the beach.

The new lifeboat will be cared for by the crew with the dedication that has kept the North Berwick lifeboat ship-shape and ready to launch at a moment’s notice, day or night, for the past 46 years.

Paul Jennings, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager for Scotland and England North said, ‘The new boat is fitted with the RNLI’s own Chart Plot system which is the same system used on the new Shannon class lifeboat. This is the first D class in Scotland to be fitted with this technology.

‘The new D class is also fitted with AIS, a tracking system used for identifying and locating vessels, which is unusual for a boat of this size but it allows the Coastguard to track the position of the lifeboat and better coordinate search and rescue operations.’

This memorable occasion for the volunteers at North Berwick comes at the same time as the charity that saves lives at sea celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first D class lifeboat being placed on service.

There will be a service of dedication for the new boat held at North Berwick lifeboat station in the autumn.

Photographs

1. Original Crew - 1969. From left to Right: Ronnie Pugh, Stewart Auld, Billy Brunton, Billy McNair, Benjy Pearson, Jimmy McHenry, Terry Cunningham
2. Officials. From Left to Right: Gilbert Meikle (Ex-Branch Chairman), Len Pate (Ex-Branch Chairman), Bob Bryson (Ex-Lifeboat Operations Manager), Ronnie Coats Walker (Ex Hon. Sec.), John Eldridge (Ex Hon. Sec.), Len Groom (Ex Hon. Sec.)
3/4. North Berwick crew past and present with Blue Peter III
5. Blue Peter III in action.

RNLI media contacts

Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642986, 07771 943026, henry_weaver@rnli.org.uk

Richard Smith, RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07786 668903, richard_smith2@rnli.org.uk

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

Photos and video

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.

 

The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland