Royal opening for Scarborough's lifeboat house

The lifeboathouse
The lifeboathouse

Scarborough's new lifeboathouse will get the royal seal of approval when it is officially opened next week.

HRH the Duke of Kent, the president of the RNLI, is to formally name Scarborough RNLI’s new lifeboat and open the new lifeboathouse on Wednesday April 12.

The Duke of Kent will do the honours

The Duke of Kent will do the honours

He will also name the Shannon-class lifeboat’s new launch-and-recovery system.

The event will be attended by around 350 RNLI volunteers, supporters and guests.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, will lead a service of dedication and lifeboat chaplain Pam Jennings will give a reading.

The guests will include 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 paid for the new lifeboat.

Mr Mason will formally hand over the lifeboat to the RNLI. RNLI trustee Mark Byford will accept the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and hand it into the care of the lifeboat station.

The Duke of Kent visited eight lifeboat stations, including Scarborough’s, in his role of RNLI president in 2006.

The Shannon lifeboat, Frederick William Plaxton, came into service on 19 December 2016.

It took over from the Mersey-class lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs, which after 25 years’ service had reached the end of its operational life.

The trust was set up following the death of Frederic ‘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. 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.

Scarborough RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Senior said: “It is 25 years since we had a naming ceremony for a Scarborough lifeboat, so this will be a big day for everyone involved with the RNLI locally.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the Duke of Kent as well as many supporters and guests to our lifeboat station and are especially pleased that we will be able to publicly acknowledge the generosity of the FW Plaxton Charitable Trust, whose legacy helped fund our wonderful new lifeboat and launch and recovery system”, Mr Senior said.

“This will be a historic and memorable occasion for Scarborough lifeboat station and crew and we hope local people can come along and help us to celebrate. If not, then they are welcome to join the coxswain and crew for a special black-tie supper at the Spa. All are welcome.

“Without donations, legacies and the support of people and organisations like Esther Cairns and the FW Plaxton Charitable Trust, RNLI crews just wouldn’t be able to carry on our lifesaving service. Our charity depends on the public’s generosity and the naming ceremony will be an opportunity for us to celebrate the continued support we receive, as well as to pay tribute to those who help us by donating not just their money but also their time and expertise to saving lives at sea”.

The black-tie dinner will be held at the Spa Ocean Room in the evening.

Tickets cost £38 (a table of 10 is £360) and can be booked by ringing Liz Ashworth on 360558 or by emailing