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Longhope RNLI attend unveiling of new memorial to lost seafarers

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday 20 May, Longhope RNLI, alongside their flanking RNLI station, Wick RNLI, attended the unveiling of a memorial to lost seafarers.

Alan Mackinnon / Longhope RNLI

RNLI Longhope crew at the memorial

Situated overlooking Wick Bay, the amazing bronze statute and accompanying lecterns tell the story of the sea and those seafarers lost from or in the WK registration area. One lectern is devoted to the tragic events of Black Saturday on August 19, 1848 when a ferocious storm claimed the lives of 94 fishermen. Heartbreakingly, being almost home, 37 of these fishermen from Caithness, the Western Isles and Orkney (six from Longhope and one from Birsay), were lost in Wick Bay when their boats were driven onto the rocks.

The 2.5 metre tall stunning bronze statute stands on 2.5 metre high stainless steel plinth and was designed by Alan Herriot. The figure holds a fish high in his right hand and his left hand points down, symbolising how the sea gives with one hand and takes with the other.

Besides the statue and lecterns, there are Caithness stone benches. Memorial Group Chairman Willie Watt said: ‘People can sit and reflect while they watch boats go in and out of Wick Harbour and think back to the time they may have lost loved ones at sea.’

RNLI Longhope Trainee Coxswain Scott Johnson said: ‘I was very humbled to be invited to attend this very poignant event. It’s such a fitting tribute to see the fishermen, who lost their lives, get the recognition they deserve. Well done to all who organised this, they should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved. Also on behalf of Longhope lifeboat we would like to thank Wick lifeboat for their kind hospitality on this difficult day.’

Finally, on the passage back to Longhope, the lifeboat continued the search for the missing diver lost last week, before returning to station, refuelling and made ready for service again, to save lives at sea.

Notes to editors

· Longhope lifeboat station has been operating since 1874. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/longhope-lifeboat-station

RNLI media contacts

Andy Fellows, Lifeboat Press Officer, [email protected]

Jaye Mackay, RNLI Media Engagement Placement for Scotland, 07929 673286, [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

Alan Mackinnon / Longhope RNLI

Longhope RNLI volunteer crew member, Ryan Urquhart, firing a flare to mark the end of a two-minute silence of respect

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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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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