RNLI’s busiest lifeboat station officially opened by HRH The Duke of Kent
The RNLI’s brand-new Tower Lifeboat Station in the heart of London has been opened by the charity’s President HRH The Duke of Kent.
On Friday June 23, His Royal Highness arrived at the station on Victoria Embankment by E-class lifeboat having travelled the three-mile journey from Cadogan Pier with RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie, and RNLI crew from Chiswick and Gravesend lifeboat stations.
The Duke met with the duty crew including station manager Kevin Maynard before the ceremony which was opened by Frank Moxon, Chair of the RNLI’s City of London fundraising committee.
During the ceremony, Captain Michael Hawthorne, Vice Chairman of the Naval Club, officially handed the station into the care of the RNLI, and Charles Denton, executor of the Richard Colton legacy, led a vote of thanks.
Reverend Cannon Thomas Woodhouse, the Chaplain of The King’s Chapel of Savoy, carried out a service of dedication including a minute’s silence for those lost in the Marchioness disaster, which led to the introduction of four RNLI lifeboat stations on the tidal Thames in 2002.
RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie said: ‘It is a day of celebration for us as we give our crew the station they deserve to keep saving lives in central London for generations to come.
‘We are grateful to everyone who made this happen, particularly the many donors who have given so generously to fund the project.’
The new station is fit for the future with improved facilities for the crew – made up of full-time commanders and volunteers – including:
*A private casualty care area to provide first aid care away from public view.
*More spacious and modern accommodation.
*A visitor experience area which can be pre-booked by groups.
Station manager Kevin Maynard said: ‘Since the station originally opened in 2002, we have made the best use of the space available but now, thanks to generous donations, we have a purpose-built lifeboat station which has been specifically designed for our needs. It will make a huge impact on our lifesaving service in central London.’
Over 20 years since its formation, the crew at Tower Lifeboat Station has saved 381 lives across 9,901 shouts* – just a couple of weeks ago, it became the first RNLI station to reach 10,000 lifeboat launches while saving the life of a member of the public.
In 2022 alone, the station had its busiest year as the crew launched 734 times and saved 21 lives.
The crew’s former station dated back to Victorian times and was given to the RNLI by its previous owner, the Metropolitan Police, for just £1 – this coin will be proudly displayed as a legacy to the crew’s former base. The new station has a 75-year design life and was built with sustainability in mind with little to no maintenance requirements.
Whilst their new station was completed, the crew operated from HMS PRESIDENT – the Royal Naval Reserve’s training facility in London.
The new station was made possible thanks to generous donations including £3.5million from the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Officer’s Association following the sale of the Naval Club in Mayfair.
· *Service data up to end of December 2022.
· For further information or pictures please contact the press office
· Recorded interviews with a case study saved by the crew are available
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.
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