Holyhead Lifeboat 'Christopher Pearce' Hosts Special Visitors
It’s always a poignant moment when a lifeboat is named, and especially so for those who knew the person the boat is named after.
When Holyhead’s all-weather lifeboat Christopher Pearce arrived at the station in 2003, she was named after the man who had passed away suddenly six years earlier, and who left an unexpected legacy to the RNLI, to purchase a new lifeboat for the island on which he spent holidays as a boy.
At the time of the naming ceremony, in 2004, Christopher’s friend Graham Sloan was unable to attend, and since then, has always wanted to see the vessel donated by and named after his pal, up close.
Today, (Wednesday April 17) , sixteen years after the Severn-class lifeboat arrived in Holyhead, Graham’s wish came true. Graham, his wife Jeannie, and friends Sue and Ray Hill, travelled from their homes in Lytham St. Anne’s and Middlewich, to visit the station, meet some of the crew, and to board the Christopher Pearce, at her current berth at Holyhead Port.
Graham recounted his personal connection with Christopher Pearce, who he knew as a fellow member of the ’41 Club’ – an organization of former members of the Round Table.
‘He was a lovely man, very funny, and a real character,’ remembered Graham.
‘He was a very private person, and after his sad death as such a young age, we were all astonished when it was revealed he had such a large amount of money, and was leaving it to the RNLI.’
The group were shown around the lifeboat by Holyhead coxswain Tony Price and station mechanic Ian James.
Speaking of the visit, Tony said:
'It's fantastic that these people have been able to see the lifeboat that their friend bequeathed to us here in Holyhead, and it's great to hear some of the stories they have about the man himself.'
Visibly moved at being on the lifeboat, Graham said his friend, who was nicknamed ‘Horizontal’ due to his laid-back ways, would have been thrilled at how well the lifeboat is looked after and loved, and how much difference she has made to help save lives at sea.
Graham is a lifeboat enthusiast, and has travelled to many stations around the country, but said the visit to Holyhead took on another meaning with the strong connection to his friend.
‘It’s hard to put it into words, but it really is very special being here. Not only have I never been on a Severn-class before, but to be on board Christopher Pearce is an amazing experience. He was a lovely man, and still remembered to this day with such affection.’
Graham is the current chair of the ’41 Club’ of which Christopher Pearce was a member, and they, along with the women’s equivalent organization ‘Tangent’ (of which Graham's friend Sue Hill is chair) currently have the RNLI as their nominated charity. They are travelling around the country to help achieve their goal of raising £50,000 to fund five lifesaving personal watercraft vehicles for RNLI lifeguards across the UK.
For more information, please contact Vicki Owens, Holyhead Lifeboat Press Officer, on 075310681409, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.