It was a glorious day at Poole Lifeboat Station yesterday , Saturday (June 23) the Poole Borough Band played a rousing welcome, as the bunting fluttered to a back drop of blue skies, with wall to wall sunshine.
The invited guests, took their places for Poole Lifeboats special day, the naming service of the D class D-804 Gladys Maud Burton and the handing over of the new floating Boathouse.
Escorted by the 1st Lilliput Sea Scouts , Poole Sea cadets and Poole Sea Scouts the distinguished guests, her Majesty’s representative the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Angus Campbell, Sir Robert Syms MP and the Mayor of Poole, Cllr Sean Gabriel took their seats on the floating barge alongside crew , their families, volunteers past and present, representatives from flanking stations, Poole Coastguard, Poole Marine Police and other agencies, amongst guests who all help and support the station in some small way.
Mr Tim Sharpley, addressed the crowd, he represented Gladys Maud Burton, who lived in Lilliput, Poole and died in February 2010 aged 100. He shared that her husband had fought in the 2nd World War and talked about the experiences of the huge Atlantic swells, Gladys lived by the sea all her life and admired the RNLI and by all accounts she was a ‘formidable’ lady, and altruistic, as her generous bequest to Poole Lifeboat Station left a legacy that was used to fund the D class that bears her name ‘Gladys Maud Burton’ and along with other legacies and donations to fund the new floating boathouse.
Mr Sharpley was invited to open the floating boathouse and hand the lifeboat to the care of the RNLI. Glen Mallen Lifesaving Manager accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI then handed it into the care of Poole Lifeboat Station, Paul Glatzel, Lifeboat Operations Manager accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the station.
Poole Lifeboat chaplain, Reverend Lucy Holt led the assembled crowd in a service of dedication and then Tim Sharpley was invited to name the lifeboat, in the age old tradition of pouring champagne on the bow. The ‘christening’ of boats goes back to ancient times where Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all held ceremonies to ask the gods to protect sailors.
Paul Glatzel Volunteer lifeboat Operations Manager said,
“It was a wonderful day blending the traditions of the Naming and Opening Ceremonies with our new D class lifeboat and Boathouse. We were blessed with the weather and it was great to see our volunteers, donors and supporters from far and wide able to share in a great experience. We are very proud to provide our service to the users of the harbour and beyond and feel privileged to do so with equipment and resources that enable our volunteers to provide the very best and quickest response to requests to launch’.
Both Lifeboats gave a short demonstration of their capabilities to the crowd, among the crowd was a special man Fred Kirk and his family. Fred a spritely nonagenarian from Nottingham, whose connection with the sea he said, was day trips to Skegness, then added that he experienced the high seas of the Atlantic, Pacific and running supplies and ammunition into Burma, during the War. Fred in his words, ‘rubbed along’ with his wife Dorothy for 63 years till she passed away five years ago, he then selflessly gave a sum of money in memory of Dorothy to help fund the Boathouse. Fred was an engineer, he said that he admired the RNLI, all that it does and he knows only too well how unpredictable the sea can be. On inspecting the boathouse he took great interest in the hydraulic cradle that will launch the lifeboats and was very proud to see the brass plaque acknowledging what his donation along with Gladys Maud Burton and other high level donors has facilitated, a fantastic boathouse .
Poole lifeboat’s longest serving Volunteer Jonathan Clark said;
‘On behalf of the crew, I would like to sincerely thank Fred and the other donors, we really do appreciate the support and it was good to meet him, to thank him personally and his family, his and Gladys Maud Burtons support will help us to continue to save lives at sea’.
📸 Nick Leach / Anne-Marie Clark