Official naming ceremony for Scarborough RNLI's new inshore lifeboat to take place this weekend

Scarborough RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat, the John Wesley Hillard IV, will be officially handed over at a naming ceremony this Saturday, October 9.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 10:20 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 8:42 am
Scarborough RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat in action. (Erik Woolcott)

It is the lifeboat station’s fourth D-class lifeboat to be paid for by Gay and Peter Hartley’s Hillards Charitable Trust.

The John Wesley Hillard IV, which cost £89,000, will be formally presented to Scarborough RNLI by a trust representative.

In 2016, the foundation stone of the new lifeboat station was laid by Peter’s grandson Oscar Hartley, 15, on behalf of his father Simon, who bid for the opportunity to dress and lay the year-stone in the Yorkshire Post’s Christmas 2014 appeal.

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Oscar Hartley lays the foundation stone of the new lifeboat station in 2016. (John Margetts)

The appeal raised £17,000 and helped Scarborough RNLI reach the £200,000 target it needed to part-fund a launch-and-recovery vehicle for its new Shannon-class lifeboat.

Peter Hartley said: “The RNLI is a marvellous charity manned by volunteers who risk their lives to save others, often in hazardous conditions.

"Scarborough lifeboat station is an integral part of the community.”

Scarborough RNLI chair Colin Woodhead said: “The Hartley family has shown amazing support for Scarborough RNLI over the years.

"This latest act of generosity means we have the most advanced boats available to continue to save lives at sea.”

Lifeboat chaplain Rev Richard Walker will officiate at the dedication service, which starts at 2pm.

It will be attended by nine members of the Hartley family and deputy chair Janet Cooper, with music by Scarborough Salvation Army Band.

Weather permitting, and if it isn’t on service, the new lifeboat will then be launched.

The Hillards Charitable Trust

John Wesley Hillard was born into a Somerset Methodist family in 1857.

After leaving school at 15, he worked as an apprentice in London’s tea trade for seven years before managing a grocery shop in Paris, followed by a chain of three shops in Tralee, Ireland.

In 1885, he settled in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, and opened a grocery shop with a £50 loan.

Within 15 years, he had over 20 shops.

He later acquired a corn seed business to supply local farmers and in 1922 bought a rival chain of 13 shops.

Hillards was a family grocery business that traded from 1885 to 1987, employing more than 7,500 people at 40 supermarkets in 40 towns including Scarborough (where Tesco is today).

Hillards ceased trading in 1987 after being bought out by Tesco.

In 1988, using part of their share of the sale proceeds, Peter and Gay Hartley set up the trust.

Based on the public-spirited values of the company’s founding family, its mission is to support social welfare opportunities in the towns once served by Hillards stores.

In particular, it welcomes applications from charities that work with older people, and those that engage with children’s welfare, educational projects and physical and mental health issues.

Applications can be made via its website www.hillardstrust.org.