A bell ringing ceremony took place on 21 January to celebrate the first RNLI lifeboat to host the names of thousands of loved ones.
More than 9,500 people are being commemorated in a unique and special way, as their names are proudly displayed in the operational letters and numbers on the hull of the new Launch a Memory boat.
Around 200 RNLI staff members and volunteers attended the event at the All-Weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, Dorset to see the unique Launch a Memory vessel being lowered into the water for the first time.
A minute’s silence was held just before midday, to remember loved ones whose names had been carefully placed on to the side of the lifeboat and to also pay respect to five crew who perished in the Fraserburgh disaster, 50 years ago to the day.
As per nautical tradition, the bell rang eight times, to signal the ‘end of watch’ on a naval ship and the start of a new watch.
The Agnes A P Barr – the first Launch a Memory lifeboat in the RNLI’s history – will be stationed at Invergordon Lifeboat Station, northern Scotland, once a series of sea trials and tests are complete. Four crew members from Invergordon Lifeboat Station made the 1276 mile round-trip to attend the ceremony and have a first look at their new lifeboat, which is replacing the Trent class Douglas Aikman Smith.
RNLI supporter and fundraiser, Sharon Mason, added the names of two family members to the Launch a Memory lifeboat. She said: “It is such an amazing feeling that my dad’s and grandad’s names are on a lifeboat, as my dad supported the RNLI all of his life.”
The Agnes A P Barr, named in memory of the main donor Agnes Arthur Paton Barr, will be moored at the RNLI Support Centre, Poole, on 22, 23, 29 February and 1 March for members of the public to view, free of charge.
For more information about Launch a Memory visit rnli.org.uk/bytheirside.
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