Looe’s last rowing lifeboat Ryder makes a poignant return to her home port

Lifeboats News Release

Ex Looe lifeboat, Ryder, made a poignant return to her home port for the August bank holiday to join Looe RNLI’s open day and celebrate the 25th birthday of her namesake, Looe Rowing Club’s wooden pilot gig Ryder.

Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder moored outside Looe RNLI Lifeboat Station during our open day

RNLI/Ian Foster

Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder moored outside Looe RNLI Lifeboat Station during our open day

The row / sail standard self righting lifeboat Ryder (ex O.N. 489) was stationed with Looe RNLI from 1902 to 1930. During her service in Looe she was launched 12 times saving 37 lives. Following her removal from service, she passed through a number of owners and in 1978 she was badly damaged by fire. Lying derelict on Chesil beach she was discovered by Looe man and former Mayor, Lt Col Ron Overd. After a long period of fund raising and restoration she is now moored by the Polperro Heritage Museum.

Spectators on the Banjo Pier watched as she was rowed back into her home port last Friday evening and moored outside Looe Lifeboat Station where she was admired by visitors over the weekend and on Looe RNLI’s open day on Sunday 27 August 2017.

The theme of Looe Lifeboat Station’s open day was “could you volunteer for Looe RNLI” where a steady stream of visitors enjoyed looking around the inshore lifeboats and launching tractors. Several visitors expressed an interest in volunteering with the charity and were able to hear first hand from lifeboat crew and shore helpers on what is involved in volunteering for Looe RNLI “saving lives at sea”.

Looe Lifeboat Station has a connection with Looe Rowing Club as a number of the volunteer crew are gig rowers and the club’s first wooden pilot gig is named Ryder after the row / sail Looe Lifeboat. Funded by generous people and organisations in Looe, built in 1992 of Cornish Elm she was the first gig to be constructed at Porters boatyard, West Looe Hill, by local boat builders Jim and Dave Currah and this year celebrates her 25th birthday. Over the years she has won a number of championships.

The sunny bank holiday weather continued into Monday when members of Looe Rowing Club had the opportunity to experience rowing the lifeboat, whilst some of the vintage lifeboat crew tried out rowing the pilot gigs. Both “Ryders” could be seen out in Looe bay together.

With tide falling the lifeboat Ryder moored up at the lifeboat station as the pilot gig Ryder joined her sister wooden gigs, Samphire and Talisman, on East Looe beach.

The finale to the Ryder’s birthday celebrations came shortly after midday when accompanied by Looe mayor Armand Toms, Dr Kathy Lang blessed the gig as members of the rowing club looked on.

END

Notes to editors

· Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder moored outside Looe RNLI Lifeboat Station during our open day
Credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster

· Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder passing the Banjo Pier on Friday evening
Credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster

· Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder off East Looe beach with Looe Rowing Club gigs
Credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster

· The two Ryders in Looe bay
Credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster

· Dr Kathy Lang blessing the pilot gig Ryder (1)
Credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster

· Dr Kathy Lang with Armand Toms blessing the pilot gig Ryder (2)
Credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster

· For further information on Looe RNLI Lifeboats please visit our website www.looelifeboats.co.uk

· For further information on Looe Rowing Club please visit their website www.looerowingclub.co.uk

· Ryder - a charity registered in England ( 1074520 )

Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder passing the Banjo Pier on Friday evening

RNLI/Ian Foster

Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder passing the Banjo Pier on Friday evening
Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder off East Looe beach with Looe Rowing Club gigs

RNLI/Ian Foster

Ex Looe Lifeboat Ryder off East Looe beach with Looe Rowing Club gigs
The two Ryders in Looe bay

RNLI/Ian Foster

The two Ryders in Looe bay
Dr Kathy Lang blessing the pilot gig Ryder

RNLI/Ian Foster

Dr Kathy Lang blessing the pilot gig Ryder
Dr Kathy Lang with Armand Toms blessing the pilot gig Ryder

RNLI/Ian Foster

Dr Kathy Lang with Armand Toms blessing the pilot gig Ryder

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 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