In sunny South West London volunteers of Teddington lifeboat station hosted the naming ceremony and dedication service for their new D-Class lifeboat Peter Saw.
At 11am on Saturday 7 May, the volunteer crew of Teddington lifeboat station hosted their families, friends and local supporters to formally name their new D-Class Lifeboat Peter Saw.
Close to one hundred people gathered in the blistering sunshine on Teddington’s slipway to attend the formal naming ceremony and dedication service for the new inshore lifeboat, funded by Hilary Saw.
Hilary generously donated the lifeboat in memory of her late husband Peter Saw who himself was one of life’s most enthusiastic, loyal and hard-working volunteers in the community. Peter was a great admirer of the work done by the RNLI and he and Hilary had previously donated the D-Class lifeboat D-743 to Teddington, named Olwen and Tom after Hilary’s parents.
Teddington’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, Tim Ody, welcomed all present and began the ceremony with a resume of the work of the London lifeboat station. Tim said: ’It has been five years since Hilary and Peter donated the Olwen and Tom and in the period we have launched on 302 occasions, rescuing 52 people.’
The donor, Hilary Saw, then spoke of how proud she was of the work of the RNLI’s operational team, the loyalty and energy of its fundraising team and the phenomenal generosity shown by the families of all involved with the RNLI.
Speaking with great pride of her late husband, Hilary then concluded by passing the new lifeboat formally into the care of the RNLI.
Volunteer crew member, Kay Whittaker, said: ‘I was so moved by Hilary’s speech and it was lovely to hear more about the man behind the boat that bears his name.’
Teddington lifeboat station was truly honoured that Charles Hunter-Pease, Chairman of the RNLI, was present to accept the lifeboat on behalf of the charity, who then officially handed her into the care of Teddington RNLI.
A simple yet moving service of dedication was conducted by Reverend Joe Moffat, Chaplain to the station and Vicar of St Mary’s with Albans, Teddington, before the lifeboat D-785 was officially named Peter Saw.
All those present joined in together to shout out the words by which the boat was named, symbolising the fact that all had contributing to the work of the RNLI, whether as a volunteer, a donor or a supporter. Out of respect for Peter Saw’s lifelong teetotalism, sparkling water, rather than champagne, was used to christen the new rescue vessel.
Following the ceremony, guests were given a short demonstration of Peter Saw’s capabilities. The lifeboat is highly manoeuvrable and specifically suited to shallow water and confined spaces. It carries up to three crew members and five casualties, and is powered by a 50hp outboard engine.
On reflection, Hilary said: ‘What a fantastic day. The huge amount of work done before and on the day by the RNLI’s events team, the volunteer crew of Teddington lifeboat station and other RNLI staff, ensured a smooth, very enjoyable and very well attended naming ceremony for the new Teddington D-Class, Peter Saw’.
Commenting on the fantastic cake that former crew member, Claire Symons, had made, Hilary added ‘It was such a shame to eat it. Nevertheless, every morsel was devoured, leaving behind it, as did the ceremony, very happy memories.’
The volunteers of Teddington lifeboat station would like to thank Hilary for her hard work. Hilary is now an integral member of Teddington lifeboat station and, continuing her generous contributions to the RNLI, has recently become the Chairman of the Teddington Lifeboat Management Group.
Volunteer helmsman Matt Allchurch added: ‘The organisation and support prior and during the event was fantastic and it was great to be able to welcome so many friends and supporters of the RNLI, as well as representatives from our flank stations Chiswick, Tower and Gravesend.’
The RNLI is a charity that relies on voluntary contributions to enable its volunteer crews to go to sea to save lives. Teddington is one of three London lifeboat stations along with Tower and Chiswick, with a fourth located further west along the river at Gravesend in Kent.
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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 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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