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Big crowds turn out for Staithes RNLI naming ceremony

Lifeboats News Release

More than 500 people crowded the narrow streets of Staithes on Saturday to celebrate the naming of the village’s new RNLI lifeboat.

Mrs Susan Tongue names Staithes RNLI new Atlantic 85

RNLI/Grant McKee

Champagne moment: Mrs Susan Tongue names Staithes RNLI new Atlantic 85
Champagne flowed over the Atlantic 85 inshore boat which was formally named Sheila & Dennis Tongue III by Mrs Susan Tongue from the family of the late donor couple who left a legacy that is funding four new £235,000 lifeboats for the lifesaving charity.

Among the guests at the ceremony were the Marquis of Normanby, who is President of the Staithes and Runswick RNLI branch, the Marchioness of Normanby, and Charles Hunter-Pease, until recently the national chairman of the RNLI. They were joined by past crew members from the last 40 years, from other Yorkshire RNLI stations including Whitby and Redcar, HM Coastguards and many more friends and supporters of the charity.

Raymond Tongue, nephew of the late Sheila and Dennis Tongue of Devon, formally handed over the lifeboat. He recalled how Sheila and Dennis had retired to Exmouth in Devon and been much impressed by the work of the RNLI and its place in the community.

In his speech, accepting the new lifeboat into the care of the RNLI, Mr Hunter-Pease praised the courage of the crews, the dedication of the volunteer shore helpers and the generosity of the public who fund the work of the RNLI.

He then formally handed the lifeboat to David Porritt, the Lifeboat Operations Manager at Staithes and Runswick, who expressed his thanks to the donor family who had travelled from the west Country and the Midlands for the ceremony.

Mr Neil Anderson, chairman of the branch, added that the station was ‘tremendously grateful’ for the Tongue family legacy. He recalled how the outgoing lifeboat Pride of Leicester had rescued more than 150 people in its years of service at Staithes, and described the technological advances of the new boat which is faster and can carry more crew and more casualties..

The service of dedication was led by the station chaplain, Reverend Alan Coates who blessed the lifeboat. Patricia Hutchinson gave a vote of thanks.

Four children with family connections to the Staithes lifeboat station - Scott Baxter, Kaden Porritt, Carter Parkin and Kira Johnson presented bouquets to Susan and Andrea Tongue, the Marchioness of Normanby and Patricia Hutchinson.

A further presentation of a framed photograph of Staithes was made to Andrew Ashton, outgoing Divisional Operations Manager of the RNLI and a longstanding friend of the Staithes station.

Music and singing was provided by the Men of Staithes choir and the North Skelton Band followed by a reception in the boathouse..

An additional benefit for the RNLI was the crowd adding a further £500 to the charity's coffers at the station shop and a stall selling raffle tickets and ducks for the annual duck race at Staithes Lifeboat weekend on August 18 and 19.

RNLI Media contacts
For more information please contact Grant McKee, RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on: 07801 257614.
A section of the crowd at Staithes and Runswick RNLI naming ceremony

RNLI/Grant McKee

A section of the crowd at Staithes and Runswick RNLI naming ceremony
Charles Hunter-Pease, former chairman of the RNLI, accepts the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI

RNLI/Grant McKee

Charles Hunter-Pease, former chairman of the RNLI, accepts the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI

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.

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 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland