All set for £2.2m lifeboat’s launch

The Shannon craft for Lytham St Annes during sea trials off the south coast
The Shannon craft for Lytham St Annes during sea trials off the south coast
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Fylde’s eagerly-awaited new lifeboat is all set for launch.

The £2.2m Shannon craft is due to arrive at the lifeboat house on St Annes seafront on Sunday afternoon.

It is scheduled to reach the shoreline at exactly 1.24pm to tally with its operational number 13-24.

It will then be loaded onto the £1.5 million Shannon Launch and Recovery System (SLARS), which has been in use for training at the station for some weeks, before being driven to the boathouse for around 2pm.

RNLI officials are expecting bumper crowds to greet the Shannon’s arrival and have paid tribute to the generosity of the Fylde public in raising more than £270,000 in just over 18 months to help fund the vessel.

While the bulk of the Shannon’s cost has been covered by a bequest from an RNLI supporter based in the south of England – it is being named Barbara Anne in her honour – a public appeal for £275,000 to complete the funding has proved an overwhelming success.

Digby Moulden, chairman of the station’s Shannon Appeal, said: “Thank you to all who have contributed to our new lifeboat either in donations or fund raising. All have helped to save lives at sea.

“The Barbara Anne is larger, faster and safer to operate than her predecessor so has the potential to save more lives and we are all very much looking forward to its arrival.”

Coxswain Gary Bird said: “With an increased speed of 25 knots compared to the current Mersey craft’s 17 knots, a key advantage of the Shannon is that it will allow us to reach casualties sooner.”