Staithes RNLI's new lifeboat to star at Lifeboat Weekend
This weekend’s [Aug 18, 19, 20] Staithes and Runswick RNLI’s popular annual Lifeboat Weekend will see exercises from two new arrivals in the RNLI’s life saving work on the Yorkshire coast.
Staithes brand new state of the art £235,000 Atlantic 85 lifeboat Sheila & Dennis Tongue III will be showing off its pace with a top speed of 35 knots, the fastest in the RNLI fleet. And for the first time the new RNLI lifeguard team at Runswick Bay will be joining in the festivities.
RNLI co-ordinator Colin Harrison says he is expecting up to 3,000 visitors to pack the foreshores of the picturesque neighbouring seaside villages to enjoy the attractions and displays laid on by the lifesaving charity over the weekend: 'It will be a great opportunity for everyone to see our superb new boat in action and welcome the lifeguards as a valuable new addition to the RNLI’s armoury.'
Subject to operational requirements, Saturday’s rescue exercises at Runswick (11.00 am) and Staithes (2.45 pm) will be supported by lifeboats from Whitby and Redcar, H.M. Coastguard teams from Staithes and Skinningrove and a Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopter from Humberside’s HM Coastguard base.
The weekend festivities are launched on Friday evening at Staithes with the famous Nightgown Parade, gathering on the Staith at 6pm. Led by a jazz band, lifeboat crew and villagers dress up in white nightgowns – men included - and traditional Staithes bonnets to form a musical parade from the Staith, along the cobbled High Street and up the bank to the top of the village.
On Saturday the busy beach will feature demonstrations from the White Rose Canoe Club and dinghy sailing with the Runswick Bay Sailing Club. The Coble and Keelboat Society are returning with one of the East Coast’s few remaining traditional sailing cobles.
Stalls and attractions at both Staithes and Runswick include roulette, ladder and card games, a ‘Test of Strength’ bar, tombolas, bookstall and bric-a-brac. RNLI souvenirs and memorabilia will be on sale at Runswick’s Cocpit and at Staithes both on the harbour front and the Lifeboat shop on Northside.
Local RNLI supporters will be joined by a ‘Rapid Relief Team’ of charity volunteers in providing a running barbeque on the Staith, supplemented by cake stalls, ice creams and tea and biscuits.
At 4pm Staithes Harbour will come alive with the furious splashes and soakings of the Raft Race as a variety of home-made rafts set off in a hotly contested dash from the Lifeboat Slipway to the beach.
The Fancy Dress Parade, with classes in every age group, launches the Saturday evening party at 6pm. The entertainment continues with an extended set from the 20-strong Middlesbrough Jazz and Blues Orchestra. Then, as darkness falls, the day climaxes with a massive fireworks display, set off on Staithes’ North Pier by the G2 fireworks team and renowned as the most spectacular on the East coast.
Festivities resume at Staithes at 11 am on Sunday morning when crowds pack the bridge and beckside vantage points for the annual Duck Dace as 800 plastic yellow ducks are cheered down Roxby Beck to the finishing line at the Lifeboat slipway.
Finally, the event closes on a poignant note with twin open-air services of thanksgiving at Runswick Bay (2.30pm) and Staithes (5.00 pm) lifeboat house, preceded by a concert at each by the North Skelton Band. With the local RNLI Lifeboat chaplain Rev. Alan Coates presiding, the congregation will sing the famous verses of ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’ and other seafarers’ hymns.
Lifeboat weekend co-ordinator Colin Harrison added: ‘We can promise all the family a great weekend at the seaside while demonstrating the vital work of the charity in saving lives at sea. Of course it wouldn’t be possible without the amazing generosity of the public and the local businesses that keep us operational and also the dedication and hard work of our crew members and shore helpers that make all the fun of the weekend happen.’
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.