Skegness RNLI Lifeboat Day to celebrate 21 years of Lincolnshire Poacher
Monday 25 July 2011
Author: Russell Matthews
Skegness lifeboat station will be celebrating the 21st anniversary of the arrival of the all-weather lifeboat Lincolnshire Poacher at their annual Lifeboat Day event on Saturday (30 July).
The lifeboat, funded in the late 1980s by the Lincolnshire Lifeboat Appeal and a major contribution from the John and Lucille Van Geest Charitable Trust, was the eighth of the new Mersey class of aluminium, fast carriage-launched lifeboats designed by the RNLI to replace the ageing Oakley class boats.
Following a four-day passage from RNLI headquarters in Poole, Dorset, Lincolnshire Poacher arrived in Skegness on 31 July 1990, with a huge crowd of locals and holidaymakers assembled on the beach to greet her.
Current lifeboat coxswain John Irving recalls the excitement of bringing the new boat home to Skegness on a sunny July afternoon.
He said: ‘Lincolnshire Poacher was a very different boat to the Oakley class lifeboat that she replaced. It took several days of intense training to get used to the extra speed and the range of new equipment. Arriving back at Skegness and seeing the number of people that had come to welcome the new lifeboat was a very special moment for all of the crew on board.’
John added: ‘She has been, and continues to be, an excellent servant to Skegness and the Lincolnshire coast, and we are still very grateful to everyone who contributed to the Lincolnshire Lifeboat Appeal all those years ago.’
Since her arrival in Skegness, Lincolnshire Poacher has been called into action on 301 occasions and rescued 168 people – including 33 lives saved, that would otherwise have been lost at sea.
On Saturday, during the station’s annual Lifeboat Day fundraising event, lifeboat crew members and supporters will sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and share a slice of birthday cake to celebrate Lincolnshire Poacher’s 21 years service helping those in need off the Lincolnshire coast.
The Lincolnshire Poacher will be on display outside the lifeboat station and will join the town’s inshore lifeboat and RNLI lifeguards for a demonstration launch with simulated casualties off Skegness Central Beach at 3pm.