The naming ceremony for Tynemouth RNLI's new Inshore lifeboat took place on Sunday afternoon and had only just finished when the lifeboat was called out, rescuing four people from a South Tyneside beach where they had been trapped by the sea.
The cost of Tynemouth RNLI's new D Class inshore lifeboat 'Little Susie' has been funded by Pat and Susan Russell from Halifax.
The Russells chose to fund the lifeboat as they found it a different and exciting way to help lots of people over many years and saw it as a gift that would keep on giving for years to come.
Around 50 Invited guests joined Pat and Susan Russell, the volunteer lifeboat crew and members of the Lifeboat Management Group at the ceremony which was led by David Stafford, Chairman of the Tynemouth Lifeboat Management Group who welcomed the guests and opened proceedings. The inshore lifeboat was handed over to the care of RNLI by Pat Russell, and was accepted into the RNLI by Adrian Carey, The RNLI's Head of Maritime Delivery.
David Stenhouse, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Tynemouth then accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the crew before the Rev Captain Steve Dixon of the Church of the Holy Saviour, Tynemouth, led the Service of Dedication.
Mark Charlton, Senior Helm at Tynemouth RNLI then invited Susan Russell to name the lifeboat 'Little Susie', which was chosen by her husband Pat.
Maureen Nugent, long-serving station supporter, wife of Geoff Nugent, a Deputy Launching Authority at the station and mother of station Coxswain Michael Nugent, delivered a moving vote of thanks before Chairman David Stafford closed the ceremony and presented Pat and Susan Russell with crew polo shirts embroidered with the "Little Susie" lifeboat, and a photograph of the lifeboat signed by the crew and committee.
The inshore lifeboat then launched and gave a short demonstration of the boats capabilities to the assembled guests.
Only minutes had passed before the inshore lifeboat was requested to launch by UK Coastguard, along with the all weather lifeboat, in front of all of the guests, after four people had been reported in difficulty on the beach at Marsden Grotto. The lifeboats sped to the scene and the inshore lifeboat volunteer crew quickly discovered four people trapped on the beach by the rising tide. The casualties were quickly brought on board the inshore lifeboat in difficult surf conditions and transferred to the all weather lifeboat where they were casualty care assessed by the volunteer crew. The inshore lifeboat then returned to station. One of the casualties was found to be suffering from extreme cold and an ambulance was requested to meet the all weather lifeboat at Sunderland Marina. Once at Sunderland the casualties were passed into the care of Paramedics and Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team and the lifeboat returned north, but was then tasked to take over the tow of a broken down 8m boat that Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat was assisting. This vessel was taken to safety at Royal Quays Marina before the lifeboat refuelled and returned to station.
Following the ceremony, David Stafford, Tynemouth Lifeboat Management Group Chairman said ‘We have been honoured that Pat and Susan Russell chose to fund our new inshore lifeboat and we're very grateful for their support and delighted that they came to the station from their Halifax home to name the lifeboat today.'
Lifeboat Operations Manager David Stenhouse added ‘We're pleased that Pat and Susan Russell saw the lifeboat that they have funded launch on a real lifesaving service, rescuing four people who could easily have drowned if they hadn't been rescued from the beach, showing just how vital the funding they provided is.'
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.
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