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Whitby RNLI’s naming ceremony is set to be a special occasion

Lifeboats Media Invite

Whitby RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat will be officially named and blessed on Saturday 8 July alongside the charity’s new relief inshore lifeboat. The ceremony will take place at 2.00pm at the RNLI boathouse in the town.

RNLI/Ceri Oakes

Mike Russell collects the fundraising cheque from Warter Priory

In 2016, Will Healey, owner of the Warter Priory Estate in East Yorkshire, nominated the RNLI as their Charity of the Year. The Estate held a clay shoot, auction and a ball which raised enough money to fund three D class inshore lifeboats.

During Saturday’s ceremony the first of these lifeboats will be named Warter Priory in recognition of their staggering fundraising efforts. The lifeboat will then officially become part of the RNLI family at Whitby.

The second lifeboat is to be named Eric Howland in memory of Will Healey’s grandfather, who was a fisherman and served in the Royal Navy. This lifeboat will join the RNLI’s relief fleet and will serve around the coast of the UK and Ireland. The third lifeboat will be named at a later date and will go into service along the north east coast in 2018.

Mike Russell, Coxswain at Whitby RNLI said: ‘Warter Priory Estate has raised a staggering amount for our charity. The naming ceremony will provide the perfect opportunity to say ‘thank you’ not only to the Priory but to everyone who supported their amazing fundraising efforts.

‘It will also give me the chance to see the whole team together before I retire in August. Such events are always really special occasions and it will be lovely to join in the celebrations that will mark our next chapter of lifesaving in the town.’

Keith Stuart, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager at Whitby (who is also retiring in August) added: ‘The naming ceremony will be a memorable day in our station’s history. It will be an extra special occasion for me too, as I’ll also be stepping down soon. I’m really pleased that I’ll get to see our new lifeboat officially named whilst I’m still in the role though.’

Frank Croft, head keeper at Warter Priory said: ‘Although we are far away from the sea, we know what an important charity the RNLI is. Anyone could get caught out when visiting the coast and to know they are there is a real reassurance. We couldn’t be prouder that our name will be on the new inshore lifeboat at Whitby.’

RNLI Photo caption

1. Whitby RNLI Coxswain Mike Russell receives the cheque from fundraisers at Warter Priory. Credit: Ceri Oakes/RNLI.

2. The photo shows Whitby RNLI’s inshore lifeboat OEM Stone III. Credit: RNLI.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer North on 07824 518641 or at

Notes to editors

  • The Warter Priory Estate in East Yorkshire is family run and comprises of a farming community and world-class game shoot.
  • The D Class inshore lifeboat is the workhorse of the RNLI’s fleet and is ideal for working close inshore, near rocks or in shallow water in moderate conditions. It can be righted by itself if it capsizes. It is capable of a speed of 25 knots.
  • Whitby RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat replaces their inshore lifeboat OEM Stone III, which was funded with money from a generous legacy.

Media invitation

Event: The official naming ceremony for Whitby RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat D-810 Warter Priory and the charity’s new inshore relief lifeboat D-809 Eric Howland.

When: Saturday 8 July at 2pm. The media are advised to arrive early to set up as there is no parking available at the lifeboat station on the day.

Where: Whitby Lifeboat Station, The Fish Pier, Church Street, Whitby, YO22 4AE.

Opportunity: To film and photograph the naming and blessing of the RNLI’s new inshore lifeboats.

Contact: If you wish to attend, please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer North on 07824 518641 or at On the day contact: please call Alison Levett, RNLI Public Relations Manager North, on 07786 668912.


OEM Stone III in action

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