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Scarborough RNLI volunteers prepare for lifeboat naming ceremony

Lifeboats News Release

HRH the Duke of Kent, the president of the RNLI, is to formally name Scarborough RNLI’s new lifeboat and open the new lifeboathouse on Wednesday 12 April.

The Duke of Kent
The Duke of Kent

He will also name the Shannon-class lifeboat’s new launch-and-recovery system.

The event will be attended by around 350 RNLI volunteers, supporters and guests.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, will lead a service of dedication and lifeboat chaplain Pam Jennings will give a reading.

The guests will include RNLI chairman Stuart Popham; the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Barry Dodd; the borough mayor, Cllr Simon Green; and Maurice Mason, a trustee of the FW Plaxton Charitable Trust, which has funded the new lifeboat.

Mr Mason will formally hand over the lifeboat to the RNLI. RNLI trustee Mark Byford will accept the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and hand it into the care of the lifeboat station.

The Duke of Kent visited eight lifeboat stations, including Scarborough’s, in his role of RNLI president in 2006.

The Shannon lifeboat, Frederick William Plaxton, came into service on 19 December 2016.

It took over from the Mersey-class lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs, which after 25 years’ service had reached the end of its operational life.

The trust was set up following the death of Frederic ‘Eric’ Plaxton to ensure that the proceeds of his estate were applied to charitable purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of Scarborough, in memory of his father.

Frederick William Plaxton was the founder of Scarborough-based coach building firm Plaxton Ltd. The new lifeboat has been named in his memory.

The launch and recovery system, The Cairns, has been named in honour of Esther Cairns, whose legacy funded it, along with a local fundraising appeal.

The new lifeboat station, purpose-built to house the Shannon-class vessel, was completed late last year.

Scarborough RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Senior said: 'It is 25 years since we had a naming ceremony for a Scarborough lifeboat, so this will be a big day for everyone involved with the RNLI locally.

'We are very much looking forward to welcoming the Duke of Kent as well as many supporters and guests to our lifeboat station and are especially pleased that we will be able to publicly acknowledge the generosity of the FW Plaxton Charitable Trust, whose legacy helped fund our wonderful new lifeboat and launch and recovery system.

'This will be an historic and memorable occasion for Scarborough lifeboat station and crew and we hope local people can come along and help us to celebrate. If not, then they are welcome to join the coxswain and crew for a special black-tie supper at the Spa. All are welcome.

'Without donations, legacies and the support of people and organisations like Esther Cairns and the FW Plaxton Charitable Trust, RNLI crews just wouldn’t be able to carry on our lifesaving service. Our charity depends on the public’s generosity and the naming ceremony will be an opportunity for us to celebrate the continued support we receive, as well as to pay tribute to those who help us by donating not just their money but also their time and expertise to saving lives at sea.'

The black-tie dinner will be held at the Spa Ocean Room in the evening.

Tickets cost £38 (a table of 10 is £360) and can be booked by ringing Liz Ashworth on 360558 or by emailing

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact, Dave Barry, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07890 322992.

Scarborough RNLI lifeboat and lifeboathouse

RNLI/Dave Barry

Scarborough RNLI lifeboat and lifeboathouse
Scarborough RNLI lifeboat and launch and recovery system

RNLI/Dave Barry

Scarborough RNLI lifeboat and launch and recovery system
Frederic ‘Eric’ Plaxton
Frederic ‘Eric’ Plaxton

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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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