A new D-class RNLI lifeboat is to be named at Holyhead this Saturday, in memory of a couple whose lives were shaped by a love of the coast.
The event will be a proud day for the station’s volunteers, as their new D-class lifeboat is named Mary & Archie Hooper.
Mary and Archie Hooper, were keen RNLI fundraisers and provided a generous legacy which has funded the new lifeboat. One of the main motivations for wanting to support the charity was witnessing first hand some of the risk visitors undertook on their coast. They watched on with great interest from the home they built at Llandanwg Beach near Harlech in north Wales. They made it their vocation to help save lives at sea and were tireless in visiting caravan sites, raising money for the RNLI and spreading lifesaving safety messages.
The history of their lives together forms the basis of their desire to support the RNLI with this generous legacy.
Archer, know to his friends and family as Archie trained at Dartmouth Naval College in Devon, before serving in the Royal Navy, where he reached the rank of Commander. By the time of their marriage, Archie had retired and was living on a disused lifeboat at Llandanwg, north Wales. The couple loved sailing their own small yacht Zambesi and gave instruction to the local sailing club.
The new lifeboat, which has already launched on service, will handed over to the RNLI by the donor’s representatives Dr Susan Hooper and James Hooper. She will be accepted on behalf of the Institution by Judge Graham Hume Jones, RNLI Council Member. Then, Elizabeth Hooper, will officially name the lifeboat.
The D-class lifeboat is built at a cost of £48,000 and has been the workhorse of the charity for nearly 50 years. It is inflatable, robust and highly manoeuvrable, capable of operating much closer to the shore than the all-weather lifeboats. It is especially suited to surf, shallow water and confined locations, often close to cliffs, among rocks or caves. It measures five-metres in length and can carry three crewmembers on board. It has an endurance of three hours at sea, at its maximum speed of 25 knots.
Lee Firman, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, who will open proceedings on Saturday says:
‘Every dedication ceremony is a special occasion for the volunteer crew and everyone involved. As a charity, we are so very grateful for this most generous legacy which has made this kind gift possible.
‘The story of Archer and Mary Hooper really is quite fascinating. It is very obvious that they wanted to play a vital role in helping to save lives at sea, whether that be through fundraising or spreading our safety messages. It really is fantastic that their legacy will help our volunteers save lives at sea in Holyhead for years to come.
‘The crew in Holyhead provide an outstanding service to their community. They deserve nothing less than the best in lifeboats, equipment and training that the RNLI offers.’
Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast, having first been mentioned in the Institutions records in 1825. It’s crews have a remarkable history of bravery with numerous awards for gallantry. Today’s station operations both an all-weather Severn class lifeboat and a D class lifeboat.
Notes to Editors
The media are invited to the service:
Where: Holyhead RNLI Lifeboat Station
When: Saturday 14 May, 2016 at 2pm
Event: Naming ceremony and service of dedication of Holyhead RNLI’s new D-class lifeboat. Please register your intention to attend by Danielle Rush on the telephone number below.
Please find attached a j-peg images of Holyhead's news D-class RNLI lifeboat, credit Ray Steadman. Also attached is an image of Mary and Archie on their wedding day.
For further information, please telephone Danielle Rush, RNLI Public Relations Manager in Wales on 01745 585162 or 07786 668829, or Lifeboat Press Officer Ray Steadman on 07867 506939. Images will be available following the event.
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 Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland