Weymouth RNLI names new Inshore Lifeboat
The sun shone on the harbourside in Weymouth this weekend for the official naming ceremony for the new RNLI Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat.
The Jack and Phyl Cleare was gifted to RNLI Weymouth with a legacy from Phyl Cleare and is the sixth lifeboat to have been donated by the couple. The first was a relief boat in 1990 followed by three more for Swanage and this second one for Weymouth.
Chrissie Payne, Chair of the Lifeboat Management Group, opened proceedings by welcoming the guests to the event, especially members of the Cleare family.
David Cleare, son of Jack Cleare’s cousin, officially handed over the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI, saying ‘This legacy will benefit lifesavers for years to come.’
He went on to say ‘Phyl once said of the RNLI ‘I have always had the greatest admiration for the RNLI and I’m always amazed at the selflessness and courage of the crew in often horrendous conditions. I never forget their families either who are also deserving of our admiration. I call them my family and I’m very proud of them all.
Eddie Donaldson, RNLI Deputy Chair, accepted the Jack and Phyl Cleare on behalf of the RNLI, describing it as a ‘huge honour’. He also added that the generosity of Jack and Phyl didn’t stop at six boats, but they also contributed to the building of the training college in Poole.
Weymouth Lifeboat Operations manager Steve Renyard accepted the boat on behalf of Weymouth Lifeboat Station. He it was a proud day for the lifeboat family at Weymouth and ‘It means that we now have the latest and finest rescue equipment available which will help to keep our crews safe as they head out to sea.
The Atlantic 85 is the third generation of B class Lifeboat to be built. It is fast, manoeuvrable, agile and versatile, and capable of speeds up to 35 knots with a crew of four. The Atlantic 85 is ideally suited to rescues close to the shore whilst also able to withstand the challenging conditions of the open sea. It is an excellent search and rescue craft.’
The Reverend Philip Elliott then led the Service of Dedication with hymns accompanied by the Weymouth Salvation Army Band.
Nicola Butterworth, Jack and Phyl’s great niece, had the honour of naming the B-917 Atlantic 85, Jack and Phyl Cleare with champagne. Many people commented that Phyl Cleare wouldn’t have wanted too much wasted!
Coxswain Andy Sargent, highlighted the steps that need to be taken in getting the lifeboat onto the station, by thanking everyone involved, including the donors, boat builders, trainers who trained the crew on the new boat, and the local contractors who modified the boat house to accommodate the larger vessel.
He then went on the pay tribute to the families of the crew members:
‘We are so fortunate to be able to count on so many hard-working and dedicated people, who together make the RNLI what it is today. In your different ways, you are all lifesavers, in particular the families of our crewmembers who, when the pagers go off, pick up the pieces and carry on with the things that had been planned without them.’
Chrissie Payne closed the ceremony.
The Dorset Wrecks shanty band entertained everyone before and after the formalities.
When asked what she thought of the day, Pat Cleare whose late husband was Jack Cleare’s cousin, said ‘So I’m so pleased. It’s taken so long, and now to finally visit – it was put off because of Covid, it was supposed to be in September and I was quite upset. – Anyway, we managed it today! I phoned up Andy, and he said to me it’s already rescued one life.’
Councillor Colin Huckle, Mayor and President of the of Weymouth Lifeboat Station, was also in attendance and commented
‘It’s great that there are people around who donate significant sums of money in cash or kind, particularly this family providing their sixth lifeboat.
This one for Weymouth is a great addition to what we’ve already got – we are a pretty busy station down here. I salute all the volunteers, all the guys and girls who go out in the boat and look after it, and all the volunteers in the shop. Weymouth is full of those sorts of people, and this obviously saves lives.’
The guests then enjoyed tea and cake accompanied by more sea shanties from the Dorset Wrecks.
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
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries