A fond farewell to the ‘George and Ivy Swanson’
Crew members past and present gathered at Queenborough Harbour to say farewell to RNLI Lifeboat 14-13 The George and Ivy Swanson which has been based at Sheerness since 1995 and has now been retired from active service.
Crew members past and present gathered on the all-tide landing in Queenborough Harbour on Thursday 29 July to say a fond farewell to the 'George and Ivy Swanson' before she headed out at the weekend on passage to Poole and retirement from active service. There was lots of good-humoured banter about stories of past rescues and events to be heard from the ‘old timers’, some of whom were crew members when the station was first formed back in 1969.
It was a poignant gathering tinged with slight sadness as not only is the George and Ivy retiring but also long term Sheerness RNLI Coxswain/mechanic Robin Castle MBE who with 40 years unbroken service will retire shortly himself.
Robin made his final voyage from Sheerness, when along with a crew of three, he had the honour of sailing the much-loved Trent class 14-13 down to Poole for the last time.
It was great for Robin and the crew to be greeted by vessels from a number of lifeboat stations whilst on route to Poole with lots of messages over the VHF wishing both Robin and the 'George and Ivy' all the best for their retirement.
Having safely arrived at Poole 14-13 was moored up and will eventually become part of the training fleet.
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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.