Inshore Boathouse Opening Ceremony

16th July 2013

The Inshore Boathouse may have been operational since Christmas 2012, but the official opening took place on Tuesday 16thJuly 2013.
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, President of the R.N.L.I., was kind enough to visit the station to perform this task. Accompanied by R.N.L.I. Chief Executive Paul Bossier, and our Lifeboat Operations Manager, John Foster, HRH The Duke of Kent met nearly everyone of the stations' volunteers.
It was clear from HRH's questions that here was a President who knew an awful lot about how a Lifeboat operation works.
It must be said that for a normal working Tuesday, the crew turn-out for the big day was magnificent. But more than that there were also past crew and their partners, fundraisers, local dignitaries as well as many long time friends and supporters of Southend Lifeboat.
To see such support for the station on one sunny day in July was a very proud moment for many indeed. And one that will live long in the memory of all those lucky enough to attend.
Of course the day was not just about the new boathouse. The opening also marked the culmination of Colin Sedgwick's long tenure as Lifeboat Operations Manager, with 54 years of R.N.L.I. service, and the start of John Fosters new reign as the incoming L.O.M.
John could not have wished for a better start, to what in many ways might have felt like the first day in his new job (which it wasn't by the way!). After HRH The Duke of Kent had met the line-up he was taken upstairs to the crewroom to meet more supporters and also to sign the stations guest book to mark the occassion.
The opening service then proceeded where Canon Burdett (station Chaplain), Paul Bossier, Jim Mackie (our Chairman) and Colin Sedgwick spoke. Obviously, the crew at this point were expecting the pagers to go off any minute as they usually do in such instances. However, even the pagers behaved and the boathouse plaque was duly revealed by HRH The Duke of Kent and our new boathouse officially opened.
The Duke was then transported to the Wet End of the Pier where he was to be treated to a joint Exercise off the Pierhead with the Sheerness Lifeboat and our Atlantic 75. Before that happened though HRH took the opportunity to meet some of our R.N.L.I. shop volunteers. JF reintroduced our shop manager, Dave Burgess who showed him around.

HRH The Duke of Kent, it's fair to say, was full of enthusiasm from beginning to end. John could not believe the detail that HRH enquired into throughout the whole day.
For us, this made the day worth all the effort involved in putting it all together.

Below are a selection of many of the photographs taken on the day.

Salvation Army Band
Andrew Ashton, Jim Mackie, John Foster and Paul Bossier preparing for the arrival of HRH
HRH meets John Foster
HRH meets Jim Mackie
HRH chatting to JF
HRH inspecting the Guard of Honour

kindly populated by members of the 3rd Chalkwell Bay Sea Scout Group

HRH meets Colin Sedgwick
HRH meets Den Freeman
HRH in the crewroom
HRH signs the guest book
HRH meets Richard Offord
HRH meets the new guys
Colin speaking
Plaque unveiled
Hovercraft inspection
Sheerness visit