Prince Philip toasts lifeboat's birthday

PUBLISHED: 18:30 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:15 03 July 2010

School children cheer as Prince Philip arrives.

School children cheer as Prince Philip arrives.

THE Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Caister Lifeboat Station on Wednesday marked the culmination of months of preparation by lifeboat officials and supporters.

Warm welcome: local school children wave Union flags as the Duke of Edinburgh arrives at Caister lifeboat station

THE Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Caister Lifeboat Station on Wednesday marked the culmination of months of preparation by lifeboat officials and supporters.

And their pride in the milestone was evident - a pristine station with the helm of lifeboat Bernard Matthews II sparkling in the sunshine.

Schoolchildren counted backwards ahead of the Prince's arrival, erupting into cheers and applause when he arrived. Touched by the warm welcome the Prince acknowledged their efforts by raising a hand.

Yarmouth mayor and mayoress Tony and Sara Smith were among the dignitaries to meet Prince Philip, along with high steward Michael Falcon and high sheriff of Norfolk, Robert Carter.

The Prince had arrived with lord lieutenant Richard Jewson.

During his tour of the lifeboat station, led by chairman Paul Garrod, Prince Philip met with key lifeboat supporters and civic dignitaries including borough council leader Barry Coleman, council managing director Richard Packham, Caister county councillor Ron Hanton and parish council chairman Tony Overill.

Also meeting the Prince was turkey tycoon and stalwart lifeboat supporter Bernard Matthews, who laughed and joked with crew and guests inside the lifeboat station.

And, Anne Edwards, editor of the Yarmouth Mercury, was introduced to the Prince along with representatives from lifeboat supporters Eon.

The first lifeboat operated from Caister in 1845 but the RNLI closed it down in 1969 - prompting the launch of the independent life saving service.

Mr Garrod said: “This has been a lovely day for the lifeboat and the Prince was impressed with the station. It was nice he climbed on board the lifeboat. We have to remember he is a man of 88, but he climbed the ladder quicker than I did.”

He added: “I would like to emphasise the hard work of the crew, directors and everyone who helped to make the station look supreme.”

The visit was the first of two key events marking the milestone, with a summer ball taking place on August 8 at the Ocean Room, Gorleston. The 1960s party night will start at 7.30pm for 8pm, and tickets are £30, to include a three-course meal and coffee.

They are available from Jason Delf on 07879 851594, or download a booking form from

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