New lifeboat arrives for Fleetwood RNLI
After 11 years of sterling service with Fleetwood RNLI, the inshore lifeboat, D-719 Mary Elizabeth Barnes, retired on Tuesday 23 February and was replaced by D-853 Harbet.
D-719 Mary Elizabeth Barnes was a result of a bequest by Mary Preston, who made the donation in honour of her family, Barnes and her late Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth. She was launched 359 times whilst at Fleetwood, rescued 309 people, numerous animals and saved 13 lives.
One memorable rescue by D-719 occurred in February, 2019. A man and his dog, who had been out hunting, had become cut off near Stanah Marsh by the exceptionally high spring tide. By the time the volunteer crew of three had arrived in Mary Elizabeth Barnes, the man was chest deep in water and the dog was in danger of being swept away. The man was plucked from the freezing waters and one of the volunteers leapt into the water to rescue the dog.
Skip Frith, Helm on that day said: ‘It was a real race against time. The tide was being pushed in by very strong winds and another 10 minutes and it would have been too late.’
Mary Elizabeth Barnes is replaced by another D class in-shore lifeboat, D-853, Harbet, named after Harold and Betsy Hollingsworth, from Cheadle, Cheshire. They bequeathed £54,000 to the RNLI for a new lifeboat and because Harold had fond memories of Fleetwood and frequently sailed from the old fishing town, it was decided to choose the new Fleetwood in-shore lifeboat in their memory.
Joe Bottomley, new Lifeboat Operations Manager at Fleetwood RNLI said: ‘The inshore lifeboat is the work horse of the RNLI fleet. D-719 was a fantastic lifeboat and was always busy. We’re sure our new D class, Harbet, will be just as reliable and as successful. We thank the Hollingsworth family for their amazing bequest. It’s really appreciated.’
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.