SCARBOROUGH Lifeboat Station will be celebrating the 20th birthday of its all weather lifeboat with a ceremony at the Sub-Aqua club in St Mary’s Street tomorrow.
A birthday cake and video tribute to the Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs will mark the occasion as current RNLI volunteers fondly look back over the ship’s history.
The long-serving rescue craft, which has saved more than 330 people since coming to Scarborough, is nearing the end of its time in Scarborough and will be replaced by the new Shannon Class lifeboat in three years.
Colin Lawson, Scarborough RNLI lifeboat operations manager, conceded he’ll be sad when the current model finally bows out.
He said: “I was one of the original crew when we received her from the makers, we realised then just what the lifeboat could do.
“It’s still almost as new as it came.”
Like many ex-RNLI lifeboats the Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Stubbs will probably be sold abroad when it is replaced, ensuring she will still be saving lives well into the future.
Mr Lawson said: “I remember within a couple of weeks of getting her we were sent to aid a German coaster in Robin Hood’s Bay where we saved a man who had been swept over board.
“She’s been a great lifeboat.”
The Shannon class lifeboat coming to Scarborough costs £1.5 million and is the first all-weather RNLI lifeboat to run on powerful water jets instead of propellers.
The pioneering new model is highly manoeuvrable and can operate in shallow waters.
Mr Lawson said: “The Shannon is a revolutionary vessel, quite different from our current lifeboat, and the volunteer crew at Scarborough are very much looking forward to receiving her on station.”
The new lifeboat will be housed in a new station built on the current site.
It will be funded by a generous legacy from Frederick William Plaxton, former chairman of Scarborough-based coach building firm Plaxton.
Mr Lawson added: “We are so grateful for the gift from Mr Plaxton – legacies are a very important source of funding for our charity and without people like Mr Plaxton the RNLI would be unable to carry out its vital lifesaving role.”