Former Poole lifeboat to retire in the city that made it possible
Today retired City of Sheffield lifeboat leaves Poole and begins her journey to the National Emergency Services Museum. Though no longer at sea, the boat will continue to serve the RNLI by sharing its history, finding a new lease of life in an education role on display in the museum.
Since Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent named the Lifeboat City of Sheffield on 28 July 1989 at Whitby Lifeboat Station, she has also served at Ramsgate, Hartlepool and Sennen Cove before finding her permanent home at Poole in 2001. The Tyne Class Lifeboat remained at Poole Lifeboat Station until 2016, when she was withdrawn from service and replaced by a new D class lifeboat. But today, the City of Sheffield will leave Poole and be delivered to Sheffield as part of a loan to the National Emergency Services Museum, where she will be displayed for the next five years.
Once delivered, the City of Sheffield will be displayed in the National Emergency Services Museum and have an exhibition built around her to share stories of the boat’s remarkable service history with museum visitors. From 23 July, and throughout the school summer holidays, guided onboard tour sessions will run.
The museum will also work with local RNLI volunteers and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue team to encourage people to consider the dangers at the coast and teach visitors vital water safety advice. This comes as part of the RNLI’s growing commitment to drowning prevention, seen as key to achieving the charity’s goal of halving drowning in the UK and Ireland by 2024.
The lifeboat was originally fundraised for by the people of Sheffield, with the cost being met by the 1987-88 Sheffield Lifeboat Appeal and a significant bequest from Mrs Mary Mable Walker. The loan provides the chance for the boat to go back to the city which made it possible while ensuring the RNLI can continue to support the museum in maintaining and displaying the vessel effectively.
Matt Wakefield, CEO of the museum said:
‘The Emergency Services Museum has a proud history of caring for historic emergency vehicles and we are delighted to be receiving a modern RNLI lifeboat to display – especially one with such a connection to the city. We’re looking forward to inviting the public to the exhibition and running sessions on the lifeboat’s remarkable stories and the inspiring people who served on her.’
Jonathan Clark, RNLI volunteer Coxswain of Poole lifeboat says:
‘The City of Sheffield was a faithful servant during her 15 years on service here at Poole lifeboat station; we are one of the busiest coastal stations so she was kept active. I was very proud to be the Coxswain at her wheel. Since September 2001 when she arrived on service, she launched 557 times, the number of people rescued (including lives saved) was 650. The Tyne was very much part of the Poole quay scenery and photographed a lot by the holiday makers.
‘In 2004, I had the proud honour of taking the wheel and escorting the RNLI’s patron, Her Majesty The Queen after she had opened the Lifeboat College and in December 2013 we celebrated the City of Sheffield’s 25th birthday with a special greeting sent by the Worshipful Mayor of Sheffield. We have a good few memories, memorable ‘shouts’ and the camaraderie part that the boat played within the crews and community life that revolves around a lifeboat station. It was a very sad day when she left us and she will always be a part of our heritage. However, I am very pleased that she will be returning home to South Yorkshire and look forward to visiting her there’.
David Welton, RNLI Heritage Manager adds: ‘This is an exciting move for the RNLI as the loan will not only teach people about the City of Sheffield’s wonderful past, but also how to stay safe by the water - all the more important in our inland cities, where communities are not always as familiar with the dangers they may find at the coast.
‘Lifeboats make the work of the RNLI possible, so we also hope that the chance to explore one will inspire some future lifeboat crew, who will continue the organisation’s legacy of saving lives at sea.
Notes to editors
- The National Emergency Services Museum is planning an official unveiling event for the lifeboat and will invite the media and public later this summer.
- For more information about the National Emergency Services Museum, please visit http://www.emergencymuseum.org.uk/index.html
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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 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.