Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Volunteers say Hello Herbie, goodbye Commander and Mrs Rodney Wells

Volunteer crew members at Rye Harbour RNLI lifeboat station have welcomed a brand new allie in helping saves lives at sea, in the form of a brand new Atlantic 85 class lifeboat.

At 6pm on Tuesday 22 June, Royal National Lifeboat B842, Hello Herbie, was placed on service at Rye Harbour RNLI lifeboat station following the successful completion of familiarisation training by the crew, after her arrival the previous day.

The Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat was funded by a legacy from Peggy Joan Staveley from Woodford Green, Essex, who died in January 2002. Sue Clifton from the RNLI legacy team visited Peggy in 1996 after she expressed an interest in leaving some money to the RNLI in her will.

Hello Herbie had had a busy first few days here at Rye Harbour. She was diverted from exercise at the request of Dover Coastguard on 24 June at 11.45am to go to the aid of the powerboat ‘Huraki’ who had lost power and was drifting two miles south of Pett Pools. The powerboat was towed back to the public slip at Rye Harbour.

Then, on 26 June at 7.13pm Hello Herbie launched to assist with a search for a missing child on Camber Sands. The lifeboat was stood down at 7.15pm when the child was found safe ashore.

The third service was on 3 July at 7.26pm when the lifeboat was requested to launch to the assistance of a jet ski which had collided with rocks at the entrance to Rye Harbour. When the lifeboat arrived, the vessel was high and dry on the rocks, with the casualties on the shore. Two of the volunteer crew were put ashore with the ambulance pouch to attend to two persons with lacerations to their lower legs caused by contact with the rocks.

The executor of the will, David Lidbury, from Highams Park, Essex, said: ‘Peggy and her husband Herbert - commonly known as ‘Burt’ - had no connection with Rye Harbour or the RNLI, so I was surprised when I heard in their will that they had completely funded a new lifeboat. I support the charity myself so I can only imagine she heard me talk of the RNLI throughout more than 40 years of friendship and decided to leave some money to the RNLI.’

As Hello Herbie came on service, lifeboat B727 Commander and Mrs Rodney Wells was withdrawn from service to take up her place in the RNLI relief fleet. Commander and Mrs Rodney Wells was placed on service on 17 July 1996. During her 13 years 11 months and 5 days, the Commander and Mrs Rodney Wells launched 331 times rescuing 384 people saving 27 lives. During her years of service, she saved various vessels worth a total of £1.7M.

Steve Tollett, Chairman Rye Harbour Lifeboat Management Group, said: ‘Whilst we are all really excited about the arrival of the new Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Hello Herbie we are very sad to say goodbye to a faithful friend, who has spent many hours in the company of the volunteers and supporters. On behalf of the volunteer crew and station personnel and all the casualties rescued, I would like to express a debt of gratitude to the Commander and Mrs Rodney Wells for taking care of her precious cargo.’