Caister Lifeboat celebrates history and launches £1.6m fundraiser

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, wave from the new Caister lif

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, wave from the new Caister lifeboat. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Caister Lifeboat celebrated its history and revealed plans to raise £1.6m for a new vessel at a ceremony at Great Yarmouth Town Hall on Thursday.

Crew from Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service launched from their station on Skippers Walk before making their way to the town hall and presenting the mayor of the borough of Yarmouth with the service's flag.

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, with Caister Lifeboat's flag,

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, with Caister Lifeboat's flag, and the lifeboat crew at the Town Hall. From left, Guy Gibson, coxswain; Richard Thurlow, assistant Coxswain; and Paul Garrod, chairman. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The flag was raised in front of the town hall and the crew took mayor Adrian Thompson and his wife, Jenny, for a cruise along the River Yare and the North Sea before heading back to Skippers Walk.

That night, a town hall event was attended by 130 people - including comedian Jim Davidson - for a ceremonial dinner honouring Caister Lifeboat's history and future.

It came as the Caister Lifeboat launched the "Keep the Boat Afloat" fundraising campaign for a new £1.6m lifeboat.

Inside the town hall for the Caister Lifeboat ceremony

130 guest attended a special event at Great Yarmouth town hall on Thursday to celebrate Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service. - Credit: James Weeds

Before the event, Mr Thompson said: "Caister Lifeboat is one of my chosen charities as they mean so much to the borough.

"The hard work they do year-in-year-out is something worth championing. They are a good bunch of volunteers and they have my support."

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Coxswain Guy Gibson said: "It meant a lot to be at the town hall to share the history of Caister Lifeboat. It was a very proud day for us and it is great to see the town supporting us."

Paul Garrod, chairman of Caister Lifeboat, said: "The event was absolutely great. It was a big day for Caister Lifeboat.

"We received great support throughout the event and it was a good day all round.

"Now the hard work starts as we begin our campaign for a new vessel."

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, on the new Caister Lifeboat w

Yarmouth borough Mayor, Adrian Thompson, and Mayoress, Jenny Thompson, on the new Caister Lifeboat with the crew at Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A Medina Class vessel is under construction on the Isle of Wight and is due for delivery to Caister in August or September.

The new Medina boat will replace the Bernard Matthews II which has launched 99 times and saved 54 lives. Caister Lifeboat’s lifesaving record stands at more than 2,300 since 1857 - the highest lifesaving station in the UK.

Caister Lifeboat is investing more than £2.5m in upgrading and maintaining lifesaving capabilities in the village where its lifeboat history goes back to 1791.

The Caister Lifeboat's flag flies at Great Yarmouth Town Hall as the town welcomes the new lifeboat.

The Caister Lifeboat's flag flies at Great Yarmouth Town Hall as the town welcomes the new lifeboat appeal. - Credit: Denise Bradley

£2.5m in upgrades and maintenance

Richard Thurlow, a senior crewmember at the Lifeboat, has worked closely with coxswain Guy Gibson on the new boat design and, with his family, is hoping to raise £500,000 to name the lifeboat after his mother, Annette, who died in 2018. Mr Thurlow gave a speech at the event sharing his hopes of honouring the memory of his mother.

For people looking to make a donation to name the Lifeboat's new vessel after Annette, please visit their JustGiving page.

At the beginning of February, the Bernard Matthews II was put up on eBay with a price of around £300,000 and £400,000.

A spokesperson for Caister Lifeboat said: "Despite our desire to upgrade our facilities with the latest technology and equipment, the Bernard Matthews II is a very capable lifeboat with many years services ahead of her."

To make a donation to Caister Lifeboat, please visit its JustGiving page.

The new Caister Lifeboat visits Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The new Caister Lifeboat visits Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Denise Bradley