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Weymouth RNLI launches its 150th anniversary celebrations

by Ken Francis 15 Dec 2018 10:05 UTC
Weymouth RNLI launches its 150th anniversary celebrations © RNLI

Weymouth RNLI is celebrating 150 years of lifesaving in 2019 with a host of events to mark the momentous occasion.

The lifeboat station first opened on 26th January 1869 and the town's first lifeboat the Agnes Harriet, was named at a ceremony held on the sands in front of a large crowd. A total of 10 lifeboats have since followed and in the station's 150 year history the lifeboats have launched some 1,700 times and have saved over 800 lives.

The station is holding several events to mark this milestone - the first of which is a crew dinner which is being held on the 26th January 2019, 150 years to the day from when the station opened. This dinner is only for current and past members of the crew and station personnel and will be held at the Crown Hotel.

Members of the public are invited to join the volunteers of Weymouth RNLI at a 150th anniversary party at the Weymouth Pavilion on 22nd March. This is a ticketed event, with the ticket price kept low at £11.50, to open the celebrations up to as many people from the community as possible. Live music will be provided by the popular 10 piece band Soulside who specialise in music from the 60's, 70's and 80's with some contemporary music as well.

As part of the veterans parade on June 23rd there will be a parade of RNLI volunteer crew, station personnel, family, friends and supporters. It is hoped that anyone from the town who has ever had a family member involved with the lifeboat or lifeboat station will come and join in this parade.

Weymouth RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Ken Francis said, "So for instance, if your Granddad or Great Granddad was on the crew or your Great Uncle or any other relation was one of the volunteers, then they and therefore you, are part of our history and we would love to see you on the parade to help us celebrate all of the 150 years of our existence."

Then on 28th July, to kick start Lifeboat Week, there will be a Parade of Sail open to all boats of all sizes. Led by Weymouth RNLI's all-weather lifeboat Ernest and Mabel and inshore lifeboat Braemar, the Parade will form near the Pier Bandstand at 10.55am and enter the Harbour at 11am, signalled by the Nothe Fort cannons. The salute will be taken at the landing stage before the Parade turns to port at a pin buoy laid in the Cove; heading back to sea before dispersing. A number of historic lifeboats will be among the huge number of craft from the town and further afield that are expected to join in the parade. After the parade of sail at 3pm there will be a quayside service in which the lifeboats will be blessed.

Clive Edwards, volunteer community safety officer who is coordinating the anniversary celebrations, says he hopes the community will turn out to celebrate their town's lifeboat history.

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