New lifeboat saves lives of mother and child off Yorkshire coast even before official launch

Even before its official launch it saved a mother and child who were blown out to sea in an inflatable dinghy.

Withernsea's new lifeboat has already responded to more call-outs in two months than the RNLI station had in the whole of last year.

It was officially named Mary Beal after the keen sailor, farmer and director of the East Yorkshire housebuilder Beal Homes, who died in 2017, at an event at the weekend.

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The vessel was funded by a £52,000 appeal, which the Beal family kick-started with a substantial donation.

In its first two months the Mary Beal has already saved lives

Mrs Beal's husband John Beal and son Richard poured champagne over the bows of the lifeboat at the naming ceremony on Saturday.

Mr Beal said his wife had sailed frequently down the "lonely" Holderness coast with the family - and they were always reassured by the presence of the lifeboat station at Withernsea.

He added: "I think Mary would have been very proud of this day. It gives us great pleasure as the Beal family to hand over this lifeboat into the care of the RNLI."

Martin Woodhouse, operations manager, thanked all those who had contributed, adding: “The crew are delighted with the performance of our new D Class.

Pictured, back, from left, Helmsmen Darren Hickey, Steve Roebuck and Matthew Woodhouse; and front, from left, John and Richard Beal and Martin Woodhouse, Adrian Carey and Malcolm Watkinson of the RNLI

"In the few weeks since the lifeboat has been on station it has already proven itself on a number of callouts and is credited with saving two lives.

"Her career with us is off to a flying start.”

A service of dedication featured a poem by Mrs Beal's eldest grandson Charlie Beal.

Reverend Duncan Harris said Mary Beal "was a lady who knew the sea, who enjoyed being on the sea.

Richard Beal, left, and John Beal symbolically name the new lifeboat by pouring champagne over her bow

"She had no fear of it, but she respected it, for the sea is something you have to respect."