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Former RNLI Director and his wife to name two new lifeboats at Lytham St Annes

Lifeboats News Release

Welcome return for the RNLI Station’s one time Inspector

a man wearing a RNLI life jacket


Michael Vlasto OBE FRIN FNI

The local lifeboat station was delighted when Michael Vlasto OBE and his wife Helen agreed, at the Station’s request, to name the two new Lytham St Annes lifeboats on Saturday 14 April 2018 at 2pm.

Both the Vlastos are no strangers to the lifeboat station as Mike was Inspector of Lifeboats for the Western Division of the RNLI, in which Lytham St Annes was a member, between 1984 and 1990. Helen has already performed a ceremony here as the Station asked her to officially “open” the brand new All-weather Lifeboat House on South Promenade on 16tAugust 2003. Michael went on to become RNLI Chief of Operations in 1997 (renamed Operations Director on 2001) in charge of all the RNLI Lifeboat Stations around the British Isles until he retired in 2013 after 38 years total service. Michael was in charge when the last brand new Lytham St Annes Lifeboat was named, the Tyne class “Sarah Emily Harrop” at Preston Dock in April 1990.

Michael will name the new Shannon class lifeboat the “Barbara Anne” and Helen will name the inshore D-class lifeboat “MOAM” at the ceremony which will take place at the All-weather Lifeboat House on South Promenade starting at 2.00pm.

Barbara Anne” the brand new Shannon class lifeboat which arrived in February, is to be named after a lady from Winchester, Miss Barbara Anne Cameron Roberts, whose bequest funded a major part of the cost of the £2.2 million life saver. The balance needed was provided by other donations and the local appeal to raise £275,000 which has been generously completed by well wishers, supporters and the general public.

The £48,000 inshore lifeboat “MOAM” arrived on station 18 months ago but her naming was delayed until a joint naming ceremony for the two new lifeboats could be arranged. Her name was requested by the anonymous donor of the major part of her cost.

Lifeboat Operations Manager Pete Whalley said: 'It will be good to see Michael and Helen again. Helen opened our new boathouse and Michael was an excellent Inspector when in charge of our Division.'

a man stands on a quay talking to a group of men on the bow of a lifeboat

RNLI/Frank Kilroy

Michael Vlasto (left) talking to Coxswain Andrew Ashton and Mechanic Tony West (both in white hats) on the bow of the Lytham Tyne, 47-037, at her naming in 1990

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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