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New Lifeboat, the ‘Evelyn M’ named in ceremony at North Berwick

About the author

Image of Matthew Gibbons

Matthew Gibbons
Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at North Berwick.

Start quoteIt is fitting that there is now a lifeboat dedicated to Evelyn in the place she enjoyed many happy holidaysEnd quote

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Matthew Gibbons

The naming ceremony for North Berwick’s new lifeboat, the ‘Evelyn M’ took place on Saturday (14/09/13) in front of the donors, local supporters and members of the public.

The ceremony opened by Mr Ian McMinn, Chairman of the Lifeboat Management Group at North Berwick included speeches from representatives of the RNLI, Scottish Government and the Miss Evelyn M Murdoch Charitable Trust which donated the funds to build the Lifeboat.

Helen Hanson, trustee of the Miss Evelyn M Murdoch Charitable Trust said “we are delighted to be here today to launch this lifeboat for North Berwick”. Helen Hanson is Evelyn M Murdoch’s niece and Trustee of the Trust fund. Evelyn loved taking her nieces to the beach at North Berwick for family Holidays, so as Stewart Auld, Lifeboat Operations Manager at North Berwick said “It is fitting that there is now a lifeboat dedicated to Evelyn in the place she enjoyed many happy holidays, she may even have eaten ice cream in the boat shed, which was at that time an ice cream cafe”

The new Lifeboat doesn’t look that different to the Lifeboats placed on station since it re-opened as an Inshore Lifeboat Station in the 1960s. However there have been many modifications and advancements in the equipment she carries such as the new electronic navigation system which was designed and built in house by the RNLI, as is the rest of the boat. This system enhances safety and search and rescue coordination by creating a vital record of precisely where has been searched and where still needs to be searched enabling a faster and more accurate rescue effort.

The ‘Evelyn M’ has been on station since June and has launched a number of times rescuing 12 people in that time, launching to incidents from broken down fishing boats to lost kayakers in the fog. ‘Evelyn M’ proved her worth in the most recent rescue when she assisted four swimmers who were struggling in a 10 foot swell and breaking waves. “Her speed in getting to the casualties was vital in the successful rescue which saw two of the casualties airlifted to hospital. All made a full recovery.” Niall Grant, Lifeboat Helm.

The Lifeboat was accepted on behalf of the RNLI and passed into the care of volunteer crew at North Berwick Lifeboat Station by Sir Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary at the Scottish Government and RNLI Council Member. He Said “I am delighted to be receiving such a great bit of new kit for the RNLI, it’s great to see the RNLI at the centre of the community surrounded by so many supporters”. The Service of Dedication was lead by Reverend Neil Dougall and named ‘Evelyn M’ by Helen Hanson, trustee of the Miss Evelyn M Murdoch Charitable Trust.

The lifeboat was then piped down to the beach by Ross McNicol and launched to demonstrate her capabilities to the crowd of supporters gathered on the shore.

Ian McMinn, Chairman of the Lifeboat Management Group and Ted hill, Deputy Launching Authority were awarded long service medals at the ceremony.

More about the Miss Evelyn M Murdoch Charitable Trust
Evelyn Murdoch was born and lived in Edinburgh all her life. She stayed with her parents and then with a brother and sister, sharing the family home in Newington. She was employed for many years by The Commissioners of Northern Lights at their headquarters in George Street, Edinburgh. In the course of her work she took part in joint exercises with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and knew and admired the service the RNLI provides to mariners.

Evelyn died in 2001 and left her estate to charity, and the Evelyn M Murdoch Charitable Trust was formed with Pauline and Helen among the Trustees, to distribute her estate to charities close to her heart.

The RNLI have been among the principal beneficiaries and the Trust have:
• supported crew training in Fife
• contributed to the redevelopment of the Anstruther station
• contributed to the provision of the new Longhope lifeboat
• provided the Evelyn M Murdoch, a sea safety training boat, together with it’s towing vehicle. Since 2005 the Evelyn M Murdoch has enabled almost 9000 people to have benefitted from safety advice given by RNLI training staff.

The Trust are pleased to donate a new Class D lifeboat to North Berwick, a town which is very special both to Evelyn and the Trustees. It is very much hoped that the Evelyn M will give long and distinguished service to the RNLI and the North Berwick lifeboat station.

More about the D-class Lifeboat
There has been a D-class Lifeboat Stationed at North Berwick since 1967, the Lifeboat station dating back to1860. Five Blue Peter Lifeboats were placed on station by the Blue Peter Pieces of Eight appeal all named Blue Peter III the last of which was replaced by Evelyn M.

The D class carries a similar equipment fit to that of her predecessors but the internal layout has been totally redesigned and makes much improved use of space. Equipment is more accessible and the job of the crew is therefore eased. One major innovation is the fitting of the RNLI Chartplotter navigation system, which enhances safety and search and rescue coordination and creates a vital record of precisely where has been searched.

The vessel is powered by an electric start 50hp outboard engine giving it a top speed of over 25 knots. The engine has improved acceleration and responsiveness and can be restarted quickly in the event of a capsize.

The latest version of the D class was designed and developed by the RNLI at the Inshore Lifeboat centre, located in East Cowes, Isle of White. Testing was rigorous both at East Cowes and various other coastal stations, including North Berwick. This process ensures that as many volunteer crew as possible have the opportunity to comment on the design and that the vessel is tested in a variety of different conditions. It is vital that the RNLI’s vessels meet the requirements of the coast and crews have confidence in them.

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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 237 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.

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