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RNLI 150 Years


A parade of Sail at Weymouth Harbour was a moving tribute to 150 years of the RNLI, marking the start of Lifeboat Week.

Hundreds of residents and visitors lined the harbour yesterday as the procession opened with a cannon salute from the Nothe Fort, led by Weymouth all-weather lifeboat Ernest and Mabel and inshore lifeboat Braemar.

Ripples of applause broke out as crews sailed past clad in yellow waterproofs.

Among the crowds near the lifeboat station were Weymouth residents Graham and Lynn Fuller.

Mrs Fuller said: "We both grew up here, so the lifeboat has always been part of our lives - the town couldn't be without it"

Many of the lifeboats had travelled from around the UK to be part of the celebration. A number of historic lifeboats were also among the parade.

Portland resident Peter Leese, watching from the bank near the Nothe with wife Christine, offered interesting insight into the history of one of the tall ships, HMS Pickle, which sailed from Hull to take part.

Mr Leese said: "When Nelson won the Battle of Trafalgar and died, HMS Pickle was the first ship to bring the news to Great Britain - there was a £500 prize offered for the first vessel to do so. Nelson's body was later brought back and pickled in rum, which is how the ship - previously known as HMS Sting - came to be named."

Christine Lees added: "The RNLI is essential to the town - we put money in the box every time."

Residents soaked up the sunshine on the grassy banks near the Nothe Fort.

Among those gathered was Portesham resident Mary Burroughs, who said: "I'm a boat owner, so today is significant because I'm here to say 'thank you' to the RNLI. Anyone can go out to sea - there's no driving license for sailing a boat. They play crucial role."

An evening service was held at Weymouth Lifeboat Station yesterday evening, where the lifeboats received their annual blessing.

Lifeboat Week events continue this evening with a display at 7pm at Newtons Cove. Head to the Nothe Gardens for the perfect view, where there will also be stalls, live music, bar and a BBQ.

Tomorrow an RNLI Folk Evening is being held at the Wyke Smugglers - call 07793747 822 or 07789270934 for tickets.

Thursday evening will see a Stand-up Paddleboard event at Ferrybridge, which is still open for teams. To register visit Weymouth Watersports at Ferry Bridge Boat Yard.

For more information visit www.weymouthlifeboat.org.uk


Source - Dorset Eveing Echo