From coastguard to postcard: farmer throws former RNLI lifeboat a lifeline

A former RNLI lifeboat destined for the scrap heap has been thrown a lifeline by a Stirlingshire farmer.

Martyn Steedman, who made the headlines with his family’s conversion of a retired Royal Navy Sea King Helicopter in 2016, offered the former lifeboat a new lease of life on his campsite in Thornhill, Stirlingshire where she’ll be transformed into a glamping pod.

The 26-tonne Tyne Class vessel made her final journey on 30 May 2023, when she was transported from Montrose Port to Mains Farm,Thornhill and craned into position alongside the helicopter.

She was carefully lowered into a large hole, positioned as she would be in the water, looking out over the horizon.

Martyn said: “We answered a plea from retired RNLI coxswain and mechanic David Buchan to save her from the scrap heap.

“David had read about our Royal Navy Sea King conversion and hoped we could give the lifeboat a new purpose.

“At 14 metres long and nearly five metres wide, she offers great glamping potential and will be a great addition to our agritourism business.”

He added: “We’re delighted to be given the chance to preserve her for future generations and are keen to use the project to highlight the lifesaving work of the RNLI.

“One of our first tasks will be to restore her paintwork to the iconic blue and orange!”

40 Tyne Class lifeboats were built between 1982 and 1990, all of which are now retired from service.

David explained: “Although I am now retired, I’m still involved with the RNLI as a volunteer at Fraserburgh RNLI Lifeboat Station.

“Having started my career on a Tyne Class, I have a great fondness for these vessels and wanted to find the old girl a nice retirement home.

The lifeboat, 47-017 Owen and Anne Aisher, was renamed Prince George after she was sold out of service, having been launched in 1988, and serving as a lifeboat for 24 years.

She had been acquired by Montrose Port Authority and used for spares to support the port’s two other former Tyne class lifeboats, which were used as pilot boats.

Photo by Craig Stephen

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