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Sheerness RNLI’s new Shannon class lifeboat named Judith Copping Joyce

Lifeboats News Release

Sheerness RNLI’s new state-of-the-art Shannon class lifeboat has been officially named Judith Copping Joyce following a naming ceremony and service of dedication held in Kent this weekend.

The bubbly is poured over the bow of Sheerness RNLI’s new Shannon class lifeboat welcoming it into the fleet.

RNLI/Rich Sams

The bubbly is poured over the bow of Sheerness RNLI’s new Shannon class lifeboat welcoming it into the fleet.

More than 200 people gathered at Crundalls Wharf, Queenborough Harbour on Saturday (October 8) to see the all-weather lifeboat officially taken into service by volunteers at the station, where she will play a key role in saving lives in the Thames Estuary and River Medway.

The lifeboat was named after Judith Copping Joyce, who grew up in Grimsby, which at the time was home to the world’s largest fishing fleet. Judith, or Judy as she was known, never forgot the work the RNLI did in keeping the fleet safe and when she moved to North London she became a tireless fundraiser for the charity. Her legacy, among those of others, allowed for the purchase of the Shannon, the newest class of lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.

Anthony Copping Joyce who handed over the lifeboat on behalf of the family to the RNLI said Judy would have been justly proud of her legacy and of the volunteers who will crew and maintain the vessel.

‘Judy never gave up her efforts on behalf of the RNLI and she was a tireless fundraiser with her collecting box in Barnet Market,’ said Anthony. ‘I understand from locals she used to shake it vigorously whenever anybody went past. She also organised fundraising events for the RNLI. It’s a fitting tribute to Judy’s legacy that it was applied to the cost of a magnificent new Shannon lifeboat’.

‘I know Judy would have loved to have been here, but the result of her late gift will be of benefit to many people both the crew and those who, unfortunately perhaps, need to seek assistance from this lifeboat which bears her name’.

Nigel Budden, Lifesaving Operations Manager at Sheerness Lifeboat Station, said it was a very proud day and thanked the volunteer crew and their families for the time they gave up to provide an essential life-saving service.

‘We’ve launched over 70 times this year with two lives saved and that is obviously what we are all about. Whilst we are sad to say goodbye to our previous lifeboat, The George and Ivy Swanson, which we had for twenty five years, we look forward to writing a new chapter in the station’s history with the arrival of this new Shannon class lifeboat’.

As well as thanking those who left legacies, he also thanked the local community who had taken part in numerous events to raise money for the lifeboat, including skydiving, Christmas lights and quizzes held in the local pub.

‘This now means we’ve got the latest and finest rescue equipment available and I know that when the crews do go to sea they’ve got peace of mind they’ve got that kit to help them,’ he added.

The Service of Dedication was conducted by Father Colin Johnson and also attended by crew from Sheerness RNLI’s flanking stations in Kent as well as other organisations including the Sheppey and Medway Coastguard teams.

‘As an erstwhile scuba diver of many years I have reason to be grateful to the RNLI and the lifeboat service generally,’ said Father Colin Johnson. ‘Not that I ever needed their services, but for everybody else who goes out on the water it’s good to know that they are there’.

Following the ceremony, the Judith Copping Joyce came closer into the harbour area at Queenborough to give a short demonstration of its lifesaving capabilities.

As well as a legacy from Judith Copping Joyce the lifeboat was also partly funded by generous legacies from Colin Frederick Light, Iris Doreen Lambert, Michael Hugh Barrett, Roberta Crane, Christine Mary McClymont Bryce and Pamela Grout as well as a generous donation from the Irene Fannie Chadwick Clarkson Charitable Trust and funds raised from the Sheerness Community Appeal.

Note for Editor’s:

· The Shannon class lifeboat is the RNLI’s first modern all-weather lifeboat (ALB) to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat to date. The Shannon was designed entirely in-house by a team of RNLI engineers and is built at the charity’s All-Weather Lifeboat Centre, in Poole, Dorset. It’s named after the River Shannon.

· The Naming Ceremony and Service of Dedication was led by Cllr Cameron Beart, Chairman of Sheerness Lifeboat Management Group with the lifeboat handed into the care of the RNLI by Anthony Copping Joyce. It was accepted into the RNLI by the Head of Region for the South East, Ryan Hall and then handed into the care of Sheerness Lifeboat Station. Music was provided by Medway Towns Bands.

· Sheerness RNLI’s previous all-weather lifeboat, the Trent-class George and Ivy Swanson retired from the station in August 2021 and was sailed to the RNLI headquarters in Poole by RNLI coxswain/mechanic Robin Castle, who then himself retired after 40 years unbroken service. Robin is now a Deputy Launch Authority and Treasurer at the station while The George and Ivy Swanson is continuing to help save lives as part of the RNLI’s training fleet.

· Sheerness Lifeboat Station is based in Sheerness Docks at Garrison Point and operates a Shannon class all-weather lifeboat and and D-class inshore lifeboat. Sheerness Lifeboat Station was established in 1970 with a Watson class lifeboat Gertrude.

Photos:

Photo 1: The bubbly is poured over the bow of Sheerness RNLI’s new Shannon class lifeboat welcoming it into the fleet. Photo credit RNLI/Rich Sams

Photo 2: Some of the Sheerness volunteers with the station’s new lifeboat Judith Copping Joyce. Photo credit RNLI/Rich Sams

Photo 3: The lifeboat comes into the harbour at Crundalls Wharf Queenborough. Photo credit RNLI/Rich Sams

Photo 4: The Judith Copping Joyce will play a key role in saving lives in Kent. Photo credit RNLI/Rich Sams

Photo 5: Some of the Sheerness volunteers with the station’s new lifeboat Judith Copping Joyce. Photo credit RNLI/Rich Sams

Photo 6: Anthony Copping Joyce who handed over care of the lifeboat to the RNLI. Photo credit RNLI/Rich Sams

RNLI Media contacts

· Vic Booth, Sheerness Lifeboat Press Officer (07926) 904453 [email protected] [email protected]

· Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East) (07785) 296252 [email protected]

· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

Some of the Sheerness volunteers with the station’s new lifeboat 'Judith Copping Joyce'.

RNLI/Rich Sams

Some of the Sheerness volunteers with the station’s new lifeboat 'Judith Copping Joyce'.
The lifeboat comes into the harbour at Crundalls Wharf Queenborough.

RNLI/Rich Sams

The lifeboat comes into the harbour at Crundalls Wharf Queenborough.
The Judith Copping Joyce will play a key role in saving lives in Kent.

RNLI/Rich Sams

The Judith Copping Joyce will play a key role in saving lives in Kent.
Some of the Sheerness volunteers with the station’s new lifeboat Judith Copping Joyce.

RNLI/Rich Sams

Some of the Sheerness volunteers with the station’s new lifeboat Judith Copping Joyce.
Anthony Copping Joyce who handed over care of the lifeboat to the RNLI.

RNLI/Rich Sams

Anthony Copping Joyce who handed over care of the lifeboat to the RNLI.

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.

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