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Wells RNLI to bid fond farewell to Mersey class lifeboat after 32 years’ service

Lifeboats News Release

Wells lifeboat volunteers and their families will gather on Wells Quay on Sunday (12 February) to pay tribute to their retiring all-weather lifeboat Doris M Mann of Ampthill.

Doris M Mann of Ampthill returning from rescue

Nicholas Leach

Doris M Mann of Ampthill

The special ‘goodbye and thank you’ event will take place from 10.30am, with The Blakeney Old Wild Rovers singing shanties until 11.30am.


The charity’s Mersey class all-weather lifeboat, Doris M Mann of Ampthill, or ‘Doris’, as she’s affectionately known, has been the Wells lifeboat since July 1990.* She is now the oldest serving all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI fleet having been with the charity for 32 years and six months. In this time she has launched 699 times on service, saved 37 lives and aided 303 people.


She will be replaced by the new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, Duke of Edinburgh. The Launch a Memory lifeboat* arrived in Wells last October, carrying with it 15,000 names of loved ones in its decals, ‘RNLI13-46’.


Duke of Edinburgh named in memory of the late HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has taken over the role of the Wells all-weather lifeboat, following a period of intensive crew training.


Peter Rainsford, Chair of Wells Lifeboat Management Group said: ‘Naturally we are very sad to be saying farewell to Doris. She has served us proudly for over 32 years and she will be greatly missed.


‘Our event on Sunday will provide the perfect opportunity to give her a proper and well deserved send off. We’d love people to join us for a sing along with Blakeney Old Wild Rovers. All are welcome to come and pay their respects and wave goodbye as Doris performs her last duty in her home port of Wells before making ready to sail away.


‘Lifeboat crew past and present will be joined by members of the Wells community to reflect on the many services she has performed and the special relationship that she has engendered with her crew and our charity.’


Anyone wishing to attend should make their way on foot to the western end of the quay near the pontoons. There is no charge to attend the event but normal car parking charges will apply.


Wells RNLI’s lifeboat station shop and visitors centre will also be open on Sunday from 10am to 4pm.*

Notes to editors:

*The Mersey class all weather lifeboat, Doris M Mann of Ampthill, operational number 12-003, entered service in Wells under coxswain Graham Walker in July 1990. She was funded by the legacy of Doris M Mann of Ampthill, Bedfordshire and was named by HRH the Duchess of Kent in a ceremony on Wells Quay on 17 July 1990.

*To find out more about the RNLI’s Launch a Memory campaign and the opportunity to add the name of a loved one to Whitby RNLI’s next all-weather lifeboat, please visit:

*Wells RNLI station shop and visitors centre is open from 10am to 4pm every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (dependant on volunteer availability).

RNLI media contacts


For more information please telephone Peter Rainsford, RNLI acting volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07789967255 or [email protected] or Jess Curtis, RNLI volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer: [email protected]

Leanne McColm

Doris M Mann of Ampthill

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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.

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