The new Eyemouth RNLI Shannon class lifeboat was officially named at a ceremony on Eyemouth harbourside at the weekend.
A substantial legacy left by Helen Hastings from Stocksfield in Northumberland meant the RNLI could invest in the state-of-the-art £2.1m vessel, the most manoeuvrable in their fleet, and at the ceremony in Eyemouth Helen’s son David Hasting officially named the boat the Helen Hastings.
Many of Helen’s relatives were in the audience to hear her son David say: “When we were children my family had a motor home and we would spend time at Bamburgh and Seahouses.
“Helen came from a long line of seafarers - her grandfather Alfred Nicholls was an oyster fisherman in Whitstable, Kent, who moved to Tyneside and became a successful shop broker and shipowner.
“My mother admired the bravery and selflessness of the lifeboat crews and on her passing she left the majority of her estate to the RNLI which has funded this magnificent boat.
“I have been rescued by lifeboats twice, outside this country, and this might have been an additional factor when my mother decided to support the RNLI.”
David Hastings handed over the Helen Hastings to Roger Lockwoord, chair of the RNLI Scottish Council who said: “The crew now have six months experience with her (The Helen Hastings) now. She is probably one of the best lifeboats in the world.
“I would like to pay credit to the crew here today. They will go out onto water and seas that most people are running away from, to rescue people they have never met before and will probably never meet again. That takes enormous commitment, selflessness and courage.”
Accepting the boat on behalf of the Eyemouth RNLI crew, John Purvis, operations manager, said: “I speak for the whole team when I say it’s a very proud day for this station. We are all very grateful to Helen Hastings.”
He added that while the crew were sad to say goodbye to the Trent class Barclaycard Crusader, the £1.2m vessel which came to Eyemouth in 1996, they are looking forward to years with the eleventh lifeboat to be stationed there.
Eyemouth’s latest lifeboat is a far cry its first - an 1876 rowing boat. The Helen Hastings is the first RNLI lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of propellers and after the official naming ceremony the crew put her through her paces to show those assembled just how agile and manoeuvrable she is.