Lifeboat returns to coast after three decades away

Original crew member Dave Freeman with launching crew Graham Lounr and Thornwick Bay site manager Bill McPhee.
Original crew member Dave Freeman with launching crew Graham Lounr and Thornwick Bay site manager Bill McPhee.
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IT WAS the vessel that was used to help save countless lives on the Yorkshire coast for 30 years - and now the Friendly Forester lifeboat is back home after 34 years away.

The much-loved lifeboat was stationed at Flamborough from 1953 until 1983, when a change in policy meant it was replaced by a different boat.

The lifeboat when it was working

The lifeboat when it was working

Then, it was retired to the Blackgang Chine amusement park on the Isle of Wight.

When the amusement park publicly announced on Facebook that the lifeboat needed a new home, the team at Thornwick Bay’s Haven holiday park jumped at the chance to claim her back for public display. Today, it arrived in its new home to be welcomed by Dave Freeman, who acted as a RNLI crew man on the Friendly Forester from 1974 until it retired.

Mr Freeman, who is now Lifeboat Operations Manager at Flamborough, said: “You do get attached to your own lifeboat, and it was a sad moment when it was taken away in 1983. It was a lovely boat to go to sea on.

“This is the first time I’ve seen it for 34 years - it is in need of a bit of TLC but it’s in remarkable condition considering it’s not been afloat for 30 years.”

The boat will be put on permanent display at the park next year.

Thornwich Bay general manger Leo Gunn said: “We are incredibly honoured to host such an important historical symbol of Flamborough’s proud heritage here at Thornwick Bay, Haven’s newest park. Haven has always been a trusted family holiday destination synonymous with the coastline that the RNLI work so hard to protect.”