‘Eric’s Legend’ lives on at the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Philanthropist and avid RNLI supporter Eric Cass’s life has been celebrated in memorial by his wife Jean as she funds a second RNLI lifeboat in his name.

The Shannon-class lifeboat - Eric’s Legend - has now been completed and is currently residing at RNLI headquarters in Poole ahead of it joining the RNLI’s fleet of relief lifeboats.

Eric and Jean have been committed and generous supporters of the RNLI for decades, and had previously funded the Mersey-class lifeboat, Pride and Spirit, at Dungeness which was in operation from 1992 – 2014. Their incredible contribution to lifesaving at the RNLI didn’t stop there as they funded an extension to the lifeboat station at Dungeness in 1994.

After a career in the production of pagers, and leaving a magnificent legacy in the arts alongside his wife, Eric sadly passed away in 2018. Jean made the decision then to support the RNLI once more by providing funds for a second lifeboat.

On Friday 25 June, Jean made the trip to RNLI headquarters in Poole to see the new Shannon-class lifeboat, Eric’s Legend.

In a happy stroke of luck, whilst visiting, Jean was greeted by the original lifeboat that she and late husband, Eric had initially funded back in 1992 - the Pride and Spirit. Now stripped of her name and numbers, she was found to be waiting in Poole ready for overseas adventures with the lifeboat service in Uruguay.

Speaking about her experience, Jean said: ‘It was a truly fantastic day on Friday. I put Eric in charge of the weather and he came up trumps, of course… and then to find Pride and Spirit in the boat yard was just the icing on the cake!’

The volunteer crew at Dungeness RNLI were very pleased to hear from Jean via video message after her visit.

Stuart Adams, Coxswain of RNLI Dungeness lifeboat, says: ‘Both Jean and Eric Cass have been fantastic, loyal supporters of the station, and the RNLI as a whole for so many years. We consider them part of the family here at station. We are so pleased that Jean got to see Pride and Spirit before she heads to Uruguay to continue her lifesaving work.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Sarah Beck, Media Engagement Placement on 07929 673280 or Sarah_Beck@rnli.org.uk or Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 or Paul_Dunt@rnli.org.uk or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI online

For more information, please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the RNLI News Centre.

A lady stands in front of a new shannon class lifeboat

Renatas Janulevicius

Mrs Cass with the lifeboat in her husband's honour
A lady stands in front of an older lifeboat

Renatas Janulevicius

Mrs Cass stands in front of Pride and Spirit

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.