Donate now

Aldeburgh RNLI celebrates 30 years of their all-weather lifeboat, Freddie Cooper

Lifeboats News Release

On 30 November 1993, an all-weather Mersey class lifeboat numbered 1234 arrived at Aldeburgh RNLI. To celebrate 30 years of Freddie Cooper the station held a commemorative launch on 30 November 2023 at 12.34pm and drew a crowd of locals, visitors, current and past lifeboat crew and colleagues.

RNLI/Katie Turner

30th anniversary launch of Aldeburgh RNLI Mersey-class all-weather lifeboat, Freddie Cooper, on 30 November 2023
Freddie Cooper has had many notable launches including the following:

A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Ian Firman following three people being rescued from the yacht Red House Lugger which was in difficulties 30 miles east of Aldeburgh in rough seas, an estimated 20 foot swell and storm force winds on 29 August 1996.

A Bronze Medal Second Service Clasp was awarded to Coxswain/Mechanic Ian Firman for the rescue of the crew of four from the yacht Rosebank in appalling weather conditions on 28 May 2000.

On the night of 17 April 2004, Coxswain Lee Firman and crewman David Cook saved two crew and the yacht SVEA. The service was carried out in very poor weather conditions and it took several attempts to get a crewman aboard and establish a tow. A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution, Admiral Sir Jock Slater, was awarded to Lee and David for their actions.

Freddie Cooper was put on service on 19 December 1993.

Freddie Cooper who the lifeboat is named after, used to holiday in Aldeburgh and funded the lifeboat with a gift in his Will. He was a former director and secretary of the East Midland Allied Press and a managing director of Northamptonshire Newspaper Ltd. The donor's name plaque can be found in the boathouse.

Freddie Cooper can launch in under 10 minutes, from the first pager bleeping to the crew arriving at the station, finding out the rescue details, getting survival kit on and launching the boat.

The current lifeboat station was built in 1993 after a legacy from Mrs Eugenie Boucher, replacing the older building. It was named Penza, after a town in South East Russia near where she lived until the 1920s. The donor's name plaque can be found downstairs in the corridor.

Aldeburgh lifeboat station has been operating since 1824 and has been part of the RNLI since 1852.

RNLI Media contacts
For more information please contact Jo Litt, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer: [email protected]

RNLI/Luke Elmer-Sampson

Aldeburgh RNLI all-weather lifeboat, Freddie Cooper
All-weather lifeboat Freddie Cooper returning to Aldeburgh beach on a bright sunny day

RNLI/Jo Litt

The recovery of all-weather lifeboat Freddie Cooper at Aldeburgh beach
All-weather lifeboat in the sea with the Bobcat and Tallus on the beach following launch

RNLI/Jo Litt

Aldeburgh RNLI all-weather lifeboat Freddie Cooper (in the north sea), Bobcat and Tallus
A pair of RNLI yellow wellies on the shingle beach at Aldeburgh

RNLI/Katie Turner

Shore crew yellow wellies on the 30th anniversary launch for all-weather lifeboat Freddie Cooper

RNLI/Luke Elmer-Sampson

Aldeburgh RNLI all-weather lifeboat, Freddie Cooper

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.