New Quay RNLI come to the rescue of their colleagues at Penlee Lifeboat Station

Lifeboats News Release

Two members of New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Station travelled to Penlee Lifeboat Station on Wednesday 7 November to present a set of old cast iron door handles to Penlee Coxswain Patch Harvey after theirs was stolen from the historic Penlee Lifeboat Station in Mousehole, Cornwall.

The former lifeboat building is dedicated to those who lost their lives, including all the lifeboat’s crew, following the Penlee lifeboat disaster in 1981. It has been left the same since the Solomon Browne lifeboat launched and never returned on that treacherous day.

The two cast-iron handles pictured were once fitted to the front doors of the old lifeboat station in New Quay, Ceredigion, West Wales and before the station was rebuilt in the early 1990’s the handles were removed by the current RNLI Mechanic Bernie Davies as a keepsake and something to remember the old building by.

Mechanic Bernie explained,

“On reading on Facebook that someone had stolen the Penlee Lifeboat Station door handle, I was shocked and upset. I knew I had to do something and remembered that I had kept the old New Quay lifeboat station’s cast iron door handles which were exactly the same. I saw that they were appealing for replicas so I went to my garage and rummaged around.”

Bernie, along with Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, travelled the 313 miles that separate the two stations, a journey of six hours, and visited the old Penlee Lifeboat Station at Penlee Point, Mousehole where they presented the handles to Penlee Coxswain Patch Harvey.

Now the two lifeboat stations have some shared history and these wonderful old handles, turned so many times by generations of New Quay lifeboatmen, will have a new life at Penlee Lifeboat Station.

Penlee Coxswain Patch Harvey said, “We are all thrilled to receive these beautiful old cast iron handles from our colleagues at New Quay Lifeboat Station. They’re identical to the handle that was stolen a few weeks ago and will soon be fitted at the old boathouse - a wonderful historic link between the two lifeboat stations. Our thanks go to Bernie and Roger for making such a long journey to deliver them - RNLI family at its best.”

Bernie added, “I am so pleased our old handles are being put to good use and the historic building will be reinstated to its original state.”

The Penlee lifeboat disaster occurred on 19 December 1981 off the coast of Cornwall. The lifeboat Solomon Browne, based at the Penlee lifeboat station near Mousehole, went to the aid of the vessel Union Star after its engines failed in heavy seas. After the lifeboat had rescued four people, both vessels were lost with all hands; in all, sixteen people died including eight volunteer lifeboatmen.

The old boathouse at Penlee Point is an historic building with its slipway and building kept the same as it was when the lifeboat launched, never to come back, and a memorial garden was created beside it in 1985 to commemorate the crew of the Solomon Browne.

Notes to editors

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Kate Williams, New Quay Lifeboat Press Officer on or 07786 550054. Alternatively contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Media Officer on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390.

RNLI/Kate Williams

RNLI/Kate Williams

RNLI/Kate Williams

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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.