New inshore lifeboat named

Posted on 09th June 2011 | in Community

Amble’s new inshore lifeboat was officially named in a champagne ceremony with guests from all over the country. The £31,000 lifeboat was named the “Mildred Holcroft” after the wife of John Holcroft, a governor of the RNLI who once visited Amble in a craft taking coal from the North East to the Thames.

Mildred Holcroft’s sister Sheila Brown performed the naming ceremony. She poured a bottle of champagne over its bows; the remainder was shared among the crew, as is the tradition. She also poured a can of Yorkshire beer over it,- ‘For John.’

Mr. Holcroft was born in Goole, Yorkshire. He was a governor of the RNLI and spent more than 29 years in the Merchant Navy as a marine engineer. When he died in December 2005, after some specific bequests, he left the remainder of his estate to the RNLI for the provision of a lifeboat to be named in memory of his late wife.

The official party at the ceremony included, Malcolm Pritchard, Chairman of Amble Lifeboat Management Group, Gareth Wilson, Training Divisional Inspector of Lifeboats, Wilf Brown and his wife Sheila (John Holcroft’s sister), Mr. Paul Boissier Chief Executive of the RNLI and his wife Mrs Susie Boissier, Rodney Burge, Amble Operations Manager, and Steve Isaacs, Chairman of Amble Lifeboat Fundraisers. Reverend Diane Westmoreland  conducted the dedication ceremony. She  considered it a privilege to be invited. 

Abby Coulter presented flowers to Sheila and John Duncan presented a painting to Wilf.

Gareth said that this was a fantastic new boat, an IB 1, designed by an RNLI team. It has a speed of 21 -25 knots, improved stowage, easier maintenance, and a shallow draft. It contains first aid and medical care equipment. It has enhanced manoeuvrability, a built in navigation system and is ideal for providing a rapid response to distress calls close to shore.

Susie Boissier accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and placed it in the care of Amble Lifeboat Station. She said, ‘It is a pleasure and an honour’ to do so and told us how legacies played a hugely important role in the funding of lifeboats. Steve Isaacs emphasized the need for continued funding in these ‘tough times’ to provide volunteers  with the best boats, best training, equipment and protective clothing.

Rodney Burge in accepting the lifeboat on behalf of the Amble station commended the crew for the rescues already undertaken. The boat had arrived on station in July 2010. The boat has been launched 18 times in all, saving at least six lives  Rodney said ‘I have every confidence in the lifeboat and the crew.’ In expressing his gratitude for the legacy he said:  ‘We wanted to be able to thank his family in person and to show them just how important his gift was.’

 Steve Isaacs publicly thanked the members of the crew, who are on 24 hour call and also their families who have to cope with the disruption.

Their work does not cease, in April two  children were reported missing while fishing from Lynemouth beach in thick fog. The children turned up safely but Amble and Newbiggin lifeboats waited until all the search parties were accounted for. The next day a pleasure boat ran aground on rocks in thick fog south of the harbour entrance. Nobody was hurt but the boat was damaged and towed into the harbour.

In May a fishing vessel had mechanical trouble close to Hadston Carrs and had to be towed to Amble Marina after the Skipper had been taken on board the lifeboat suffering from with sea sickness.

Vivienne Dalgliesh



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