On Sunday 1 October 2023 Great Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI station hosted an unusual double naming ceremony and service of dedication for two new lifeboats: the 13m Shannon George and Frances Phelon and the Atlantic 85 John Rowntree. The event was opened by the RNLI Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Chaplain, Reverend Albert Cadmore.
The ceremony was be led by the Bishop of Thetford, Right Reverend Ian Bishop, and was his first public event in office. Christopher Woodhouse, donor representative, handed the lifeboats into the care of the RNLI, for whom they were accepted by Charles Hunter-Pease, RNLI honorary vice-president and former chairman.
The all-weather lifeboat George and Frances Phelon (13-44), the country’s first ever legacy lifeboat, was named after the late couple whose will funded its construction. The Atlantic 85 was funded from the bequest of Miss Winifred Elizabeth Dockson, and was named in memory of a master mariner who was lost at sea in the winter storm off the coast of Great Yarmouth.
Captain Lindsey Wigmore, lifeboat operations manager, formally accepted the lifeboats, and Jim Carter, RNLI Great Yarmouth and Gorleston station president, delivered a vote of thanks and closed proceedings, after which the lifeboats put on a short demonstration just off the lifeboat station.
The new Shannon lifeboat arrived at her station just over a week previously, and during the week between her arrival and christening the volunteer crew, led by Coxswain Andy Mason, undertook intensive training, with daily exercises. The arrival of the new boat on 23 September saw no fewer than six lifeboats in attendance, as boats from Lowestoft, Caister and Hemsby escorted the new boat to her station.
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