RNLI launches £52,000 appeal to fund a new D class lifeboat for Portsmouth
The RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea, has launched an appeal to raise £52,000 to fund a new D class lifeboat for Portsmouth Lifeboat Station.
The current lifeboat, Brian’s Pride, has been on service for the last ten years during which time it has launched 296 times, aided 237 people and saved 28 lives. But now it is getting to the end of its working life.
‘Brian’s Pride has been an incredible lifeboat, providing the backbone of our search and rescue launches at Portsmouth,’ said Jacqui Hutchins, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Portsmouth Lifeboat Station which is based at Langstone Harbour.
‘The D class lifeboat is known as the workhorse of the RNLI and that’s certainly true here at Portsmouth. It has proved highly manoeuvrable, allowing us to carry out rescues in shallow waters close to shore,’ Jacqui added.
‘It’s ideally equipped for working these waters complete with night vision equipment, searchlights and full medical kit. It would be impossible for us to save lives without it,’ she added.
When the decision came to replace Brian’s Pride it was clear the station needed a new D class which will be made at the RNLI’s Inshore Lifeboat Centre at East Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Working alongside the station’s second lifeboat, Norma T, an Atlantic 85, which is capable of 35 knots and capable of operating in Force 7 near gale winds, the two lifeboats will provide the very best search and rescue service for the eastern Solent.
The aim of the current appeal is to raise £52,000 by the end of this year through public donations, sponsored events and through support from local businesses.
One key feature of the appeal will be encouraging people to fund pieces of a Portsmouth Lifeboat ‘Puzzle’. A full-size photo of the current Portsmouth D Class lifeboat has been divided into 300 pieces each representing a £175 donation towards the fund with the aim of getting all the pieces in place by Dec 31 2019.
RNLI Community Fundraising Manager Roseanne Blaze said she really hoped the local community in Portsmouth and Southsea would get behind the appeal. ‘The RNLI lifeboat station at Portsmouth is a busy station with 79 launches last year, so we are really hoping the local community will get behind this appeal’.
‘What many people don’t realise is that both lifeboats at the station are entirely crewed and supported by volunteers, people who live and work among them in the Portsmouth area. They go about their lives carrying pagers and ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to head out to sea and help people in distress’.
‘We receive no government funding and rely entirely on generous donations from the public to keep our rescue service operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We want to ensure our crews have the very best equipment available, which is why this new lifeboat for Portsmouth is so important’.
The name of the new lifeboat will be decided by the station and the crew are looking for local volunteers to suggest names which will be short-listed and will then go to a vote by people who bought the puzzle pieces.
Note for Editors
The current D Class lifeboat at Portsmouth D716 Brian’s Pride was placed on service at Portsmouth on 6 August 2009 and funded by a donation from Mr and Mrs B E Bass.
There has been an inshore lifeboat operating from Portsmouth for more than 50 years, during which time the crew have received more than 20 gallantry medals.
The history of Portsmouth Lifeboat Station:
1965: An inshore lifeboat station was established at Eastney Point, at the entrance to Langstone Harbour. The new station was supplied with its first D Class, ‘No. 48‘.
1965: The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum accorded collectively to Dr I T McLachlan, D Cook-Radmore and S Thayers for the rescue of six people from the fishing launch Silver Spray on 31 October. This was the first such award to an inshore lifeboat
1967: An 18’ McLachlan lifeboat sent to the station in July
1973: Bronze Medal awarded to Helmsman Dennis Faro
1974: Bronze Medal awarded to Helmsman Sydney Thayers and William Hawkins. Bronze Second-Service Clasp awarded to Dennis Faro
1975: An 18’ McLachlan lifeboat withdrawn and replaced with an Atlantic 21
1978: The Committee of Management resolved that the name of the station be amended to Portsmouth (Langstone Harbour)
1991: A new boathouse to accommodate the station’s D and Atlantic 21 class lifeboats was officially opened on 27 October by Rear Admiral Wilfred Graham, the ex-Director of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The boathouse which cost over £90,000 to build was funded by a special appeal started in the 1980’s by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Alderman Wyn Sutcliffe. It includes a first aid reception area, workshop, crew training/briefing room and improved crew training/briefing room and improved crew facilities
1995: The Committee of Management resolved that the name of the station be amended to Portsmouth Lifeboat Station as of 1 September
1996: Atlantic 21 class lifeboat withdrawn and replaced by Atlantic 75 class lifeboat B730 which was placed on service on 26 November
2000: The new station D Class lifeboat D554 Heyland II was placed on service on Monday 4 September 2004. The lifeboat was provided by a generous donation from Mr Frank Warren of Emsworth.
2002 A new boathouse extension was completed in February at a cost of £140,743
2009: The new station D Class D716 Brian’s Pride was placed on service 6 August. This lifeboat was funded by a donation from Mr and Mrs B E Bass.
2010: A new class of lifeboat, an Atlantic 85, B846 Norma T was placed on service 23 October. The lifeboat was provided by the generous donations from Bob and Norma Thomas. Lifeboat B730 CSMA Frizzell was withdrawn.
There was an earlier RNLI operated lifeboat station, called Southsea Lifeboat Station, which operated from 1886 to 1918 in a different location. This station was closed in 1918 as it was believed at that time that the Solent was adequately covered by Hayling Island and Bembridge stations.
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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, 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.