RNLI Christmas plea: “Will you help fund the charity’s latest lifesaving vessel?

Lifeboats News Release

With Christmas approaching, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is asking people in the east and south east of England to show some festive spirit and help fund its latest lifeboat - which could help save lives off the coast.

Shannon lifeboats under construction at the RNLI's headquarters in Poole, Dorset

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Shannon lifeboats under construction at the RNLI's headquarters in Poole, Dorset

The Shannon class lifeboat, like those operational at Dungeness and Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat stations, will enter the RNLI’s relief fleet when it rolls off the production line next year.

As a relief lifeboat the Brianne Aldington – as she will be named - will provide cover at existing Shannon lifeboat stations when their own go off service for repair or maintenance. This means she could well help save lives at Dungeness or Lowestoft if she is ever needed there in the future.

Through the lifesaving charity’s Christmas appeal, the RNLI hopes to raise £640,000 to help fund the lifeboat. It costs £2.2M to build a Shannon, with the majority of the Brianne Aldington being funded by a legacy gift left by Catherine Anne Aldington.

Mrs Aldington, who was known as Anne, lived in Hertfordshire and she and her late husband Brian had a lifelong ambition to fund a lifeboat in their joint names – an ambition that will be realised when Brianne Aldington goes on service next year.

Stuart Adams, Coxswain at Dungeness lifeboat station, said: ‘As the saying goes, Christmas is a time for giving. So we’re asking the public in the south east for their support to help the RNLI raise enough money to fund the latest Shannon class lifeboat this Christmas. This year alone we have launched our own Shannon 19 times and she is without doubt the best lifeboat we have ever had here in Dungeness.’

The Shannon class lifeboat is the RNLI’s latest all-weather lifeboat. It can reach speeds of up to 25 knots and, thanks to twin water jet engines, is the most agile all-weather craft in the charity’s fleet.

Meanwhile Paul Carter, from Lowestoft RNLI, said: ‘Having this new Shannon in the RNLI’s relief fleet will ensure our lifeboats can continue to save lives at sea 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – even when our station’s lifeboat goes off service for repairs or maintenance.’

The RNLI currently has 14 Shannon class lifeboats in its fleet*, with this number set to rise to over 50 in the coming years as the Shannon class replaces a selection of Mersey and Tyne class lifeboats.

Whether they’re unwrapping presents, tucking into a turkey or settling down to watch the Queen’s Speech, volunteer lifeboat crew members across the UK and Ireland will be on call 24/7 over the festive season, ready to drop everything to go and save lives at sea when their pagers beep.

Anyone who wants to support the RNLI’s Christmas appeal can call 0300 300 9907 or donate online at RNLIShannonAppeal2016.org.

The Shannon lifeboat has a top speed of 25 knots, and is gradually replacing a selection of Mersey and Tyne class lifeboats, which have a top speed of 17 knots , as they approach the end of their planned 25-year lifespan.

*Figure correct at 14 November 2016. The number is due to rise later this month, with Shannon class lifeboats due to arrive at Amble Lifeboat Station on 18 November and Scarborough on 27 November.

Notes to editors

Find out more about the RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat here: Shannon

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations, on 0207 6207426 tim_ash@rnli.org.uk Alternatively, contact Luke Blissett, RNLI PR Officer, on 01202 663184 or email luke_blissett@RNLI.org.uk or call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email pressoffice@rnli.org.uk.

Dungeness RNLI Shannon class lifeboat, 'The Morrell'

RNLI/Mike Lavis

Dungeness RNLI Shannon class lifeboat, 'The Morrell'
Lowestoft RNLI Shannon class lifeboat, 'Patsy Knight'


Lowestoft RNLI Shannon class lifeboat, 'Patsy Knight'

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.