The Inshore Boathouse may have been operational since Christmas
2012, but the official opening took place on Tuesday 16thJuly
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.
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
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
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