A fond farewell to the ‘Doris M Mann of Ampthill’
On Sunday morning, 12 February, crowds gathered to cheer the Doris M Mann of Ampthill as she retired after more than 32 years of service as the Wells lifeboat.
RNLI volunteer crew members past and present gathered on the quayside along with an estimated 500 members of the public to say a fond farewell. It was a moving but light hearted celebration with lots of stories of past rescues and events being remembered by those in attendance.
To mark the occasion The Blakeney Old Wild Rovers sang sea shanties as the crowd grew and “Doris” came up to the quay on the morning tide. She sounded her horn and did some turns while the crowd cheered and waved; several of the station’s volunteer crew were on board and waving back. She moored alongside the town quay and the crew came ashore to mingle with the crowd and join the shanty men on stage.
Peter Rainsford, Chair of Wells Lifeboat Management Group, said: ‘It was a very special occasion, and we are grateful to everyone who came to pay their respects to our much-loved lifeboat before she makes her way into retirement. Memories were shared by many from the community, some remembering a school holiday to mark her naming, others recalling events, both hair raising and humorous. It was happy and sad; the sharing of memories by a community that supports the lifesaving work of its volunteer lifeboat crew.'
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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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