Large numbers of spectators and well-wishers gathered yesterday to witness HRH the Princess Royal, Princess Anne officially open the new Bembridge RNLI lifeboat station.
The ceremony saw the Princess name the new Tamar class lifeboat, Alfred Albert Williams, and meet both relatives of the man in whose honour the lifeboat was funded and the Bembridge RNLI team. Joining the invited guests and dignitaries in the station, the shore was lined with spectators who were able to follow proceedings through a large screen that was erected for the event.
The station and lifeboat have both been operational for some months now but this event marked the official naming ceremony and service of dedication for both. It was also a day to acknowledge the anonymous couple whose generosity funded the majority of the cost of new lifeboat.
The Alfred Albert Williams takes its name from the Hampshire man who was a close friend of the husband and wife couple who made a significant donation to the RNLI and relatives of Alfred were present at the naming.The new Bembridge RNLI lifeboat station replaces the previous building which had been built in 1922. Although it had served its crew well on hundreds of lifesaving missions, a new station was needed to cater for the needs of a modern-day lifeboat service, and the new building was completed in 2010.
Bembridge RNLI coxswain Steve Simmonds said: ‘It was a great honour for Princess Anne to name our lifeboat. We are very lucky station to have such a fine boathouse & top-of-the-range lifeboat. We are extemely grateful to all those who made it such a special occasion. The months of planning have certainly paid off.’ Even after the ceremony it was business as usual for the crew who, within a few hours, were out again on another shout.
Photograph credit to John Ambler