On 12 April 2017 HRH the Duke of Kent, the president of the RNLI, formally named Scarborough RNLI’s new lifeboat and opened the new lifeboat house. The event was attended by around 350 RNLI volunteers, supporters and guests, who were packed into the new boathouse because the inclement weather prevented the ceremony taking place outside.
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, led the service of dedication and lifeboat chaplain Pam Jennings will give a reading. The Archbishop spoke about the work of the RNLI and the bravery and dedication of the Scarborough volunteers who crew the lifeboats.
The guests included RNLI chairman Stuart Popham; the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Barry Dodd; the borough mayor, Cllr Simon Green; and Maurice Mason, a trustee of the FW Plaxton Charitable Trust, which has funded the new lifeboat. Mr Mason formally handed over the lifeboat to the RNLI. RNLI trustee Mark Byford accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and handed it into the care of the lifeboat station, with Coxswain Tom Clark formally accepting it.
The Shannon lifeboat, Frederick William Plaxton, came into service on 19 December 2016, replacing the 12m Mersey class lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs, which had reached the end of its operational life after 25 years of service.
The FW Plaxton Charitable Trust was set up following the death of Frederick ‘Eric’ Plaxton to ensure that the proceeds of his estate were applied to charitable purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of Scarborough, in memory of his father. Frederick William Plaxton was the founder of Scarborough-based coach building firm Plaxton Ltd and the new lifeboat has been named in his memory.
The launch and recovery system, The Cairns, has been named in honour of Esther Cairns, whose legacy funded it, along with a local fundraising appeal.
The new lifeboat station, purpose-built to house the Shannon class vessel, was completed late last year in time for the new boat’s arrival. The impressive building was constructed on the site of the
Scarborough RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Senior said: ‘It is 25 years since we had a naming ceremony for a Scarborough lifeboat, so this was a big day for everyone involved with the RNLI locally. We were delighted to welcome the Duke of Kent as well as many supporters and guests to our lifeboat station and were especially pleased that we could publicly acknowledge the generosity of the FW Plaxton Charitable Trust.’