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Whitstable RNLI celebrate 60 years of service

Lifeboats News Release

60-years of service to the local community and surrounding area was celebrated at Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station this weekend when the volunteer crew, the education and sea safety team and members of the fund raising branch held an open weekend to celebrate the founding of the station in 1963.

Jack and James Williams, both nine, Ethan Torble, eight and Finley, three and dad Lee Ballard are shown over the lifeboat by Sam Turner and Richard Monje during the Whitstable Lifeboat open weekend and 60th anniversary celebrations.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Jack and James Williams, both nine, Ethan Torble, eight and Finley, three and dad Lee Ballard are shown over the lifeboat by Sam Turner and Richard Monje during the Whitstable Lifeboat open weekend and 60th anniversary celebrations.
The stations current Atlantic 85 lifeboat Lewisco and her associated launching carriage and tractor were on display outside the boathouse and visitors where able to board the lifeboat and inspect her at close hand many taking the opportunity to sit in the helm’s seat something enjoyed by lifeboat supporters and visitors of all ages!

Members of the crew where on hand to explain the workings of the boat and its launching tractor and to describe the various roles performed by both sea and shore crew.

Inside the boathouse there was a display detailing the stations history and from its inception the station received the first of several ‘D’ Class lifeboats which were to serve the station through its formative years. Coincidentally it is also the 60th anniversary of the introduction of inshore lifeboats to RNLI service and Whitstable was among the first 8 to receive such craft.

Initially Whitstable was summertime only station but soon moved to all year-round operations and later gained the first of a series of larger ‘B’ Class lifeboats ranging from the Atlantic 21 type to the current Atlantic 85 boat and according to RNLI stats since 1963 Whitstable’s lifeboats have launched 2868 times with 3102 lives saved and a further 2108 persons aided.

Members of the education and sea safety team were also kept busy promoting the various RNLI safety and education messages from their stalls in the boat hall and very popular was the 'Know your Knots' board with many visitors attempting to work out the various combinations of rope work!

During the Saturday morning of the open weekend Rob Sabin and Clinton Wells from estate agents Miles & Barr where on hand to present a donation of £500.00 to the station. Whitstable Branch Director Clinton Wells said “It is a worthy cause and we are proud to have them in the town and thanks for all that they do and we are proud to be associated with the station”.

Whitstable RNLI Deputy Launching Authority and weekend organiser Kellie Gray said “We had a very successful weekend with a good number of visitors including many of our regular supporters and despite Saturday afternoon being disrupted by rain we still had a busy time meeting and greeting the public. On Saturday evening we held a social evening for station volunteers from across the years and it was lovely to see so many faces, former crew and fundraisers and those currently serving on the station”.

Continued Kellie “Later on Saturday afternoon we even managed to squeeze in a call when the lifeboat was launched to a report of a capsized sailing dinghy off Seasalter, it was certainly a busy weekend and we hope it was enjoyed by all who took part at the station and our visitors”.

The Whitstable Lifeboat 60th Anniversary display in Whitstable Museum will continue for the rest of July.

Full details of Saturday afternoons call are that at 5.04pm the lifeboat launched following a report of a capsized 'Laser' sailing dinghy 500-yards North East of Seasalter Sailing Club and 2-persons in the water.

The lifeboat arrived 'on scene' but there was no sign of persons in the water. During a search the two casualties were observed walking ashore and once it was confirmed they were safe the lifeboat towed their dinghy to the shore .

The lifeboat was in action again on Sunday afternoon following a report of a kayaker and paddle boarder who appeared to be in difficulties between the entrance to Faversham Creek and Harty Ferry. The lifeboat crew located the pair and landed them ashore at Harty Ferry from where they had set off earlier.


Notes to editors

Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station was established in 1963 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and is one of 237 lifeboat stations around the shores of the UK and Ireland. The volunteer crews provide a maritime search and rescue service for the Kent coast. They cover the area between the Kingsferry Bridge on the Swale, in the west, around the south-eastern side of Sheppey and along the coast through Whitstable and Herne Bay to Reculver in the east and outwards into the Thames Estuary.

The station is equipped with an Atlantic 85 lifeboat named Lewisco, purchased through a bequest of a Miss Lewis of London who passed away in 2006.

She is what is known as a rigid inflatable inshore lifeboat, the boat’s rigid hull being topped by an inflatable sponson. She carries a crew of four people.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Davey, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Whitstable Lifeboat Station.
    07741 012004/ [email protected]

  • Paul Dunt RNLI Press Officer London/southeast/east Tel: 0207 6207416 Mob: (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.



Miles & Barr Whitstable Branch Director Clinton Wells, 2nd left and front, Arther and his dad Rob Sabin, Director of Miles & Barr with Education Officer David Hayward, left, and Crewmembers Sam Turner, Richard Monje, Andy Williams and Will Smith following the cheque presentation during the Saturday of the Whitstable RNLI open weekend.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Miles & Barr Whitstable Branch Director Clinton Wells, 2nd left and front, Arthur and his dad Rob Sabin, Director of Miles & Barr with Education Officer David Hayward, left, and Crewmembers Sam Turner, Richard Monje, Andy Williams and Will Smith following the cheque presentation during the Saturday of the Whitstable RNLI open weekend.
Bobby Willoughby, 10, all kitted up to join the lifeboat.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Bobby Willoughby, 10, all kitted up to join the lifeboat.
Sue Evans, left and Gerry Skinner, right with visitors to the education and sea safety stalls at the Whitstable RNLI 60th Anniversary and open weekend on Sunday.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Sue Evans, left and Gerry Skinner, right with visitors to the education and sea safety stalls at the Whitstable RNLI 60th Anniversary and open weekend on Sunday.
Peggy, four and Ernie, six, are shown the ropes by Lifeboat Helm Ruth Oliver watched by Parents Jim and Callie Wade during the Whitstable Lifeboat open weekend and 60th anniversary celebrations.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Peggy, four and Ernie, six, are shown the ropes by Lifeboat Helm Ruth Oliver watched by Parents Jim and Callie Wade during the Whitstable Lifeboat open weekend and 60th anniversary celebrations.
The social evening and reunion during the Whitstable Lifeboat open weekend and 60th anniversary celebrations on Saturday.

RNLI/Chris Davey

The social evening and reunion during the Whitstable Lifeboat open weekend and 60th anniversary celebrations on Saturday.

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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