The Shannon class lifeboat has been funded in part by the late Patsy Knight who had long admired the work of the volunteer lifeboat crew at Lowestoft from her home village of Kessingland.
Patsy Knight died at the age of 63 in May 2005, but left a share of her residuary estate specifically for the benefit of Lowestoft lifeboat station. Her gift was the largest made towards the £2.1million cost of the new Shannon class lifeboat.
The two further contributors to the cost of the lifeboat were Miss Mary Joan Austin from Birmingham and Lowestoft resident Mrs Margaret Elizabeth Fox. Mary Joan passed away in September 2011 and left the whole of her residuary estate to the RNLI for the provision of a lifeboat. Margaret Elizabeth Fox is the mother of John - the station's current Coxswain, she lived her life in Lowestoft and was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.
The new lifeboat replaced the station’s previous all-weather Tyne class lifeboat The Spirit of Lowestoft which had served at the station for 27 years.
The Shannon is the first modern all-weather lifeboat propelled by waterjets instead of propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the fleet. Its top speed is 25 knots, which is a crucial factor when lives are at risk.
Speaking at the naming ceremony, Mrs Hilary Watts, representing Patsy Knight, said: ‘On behalf of the family and trustees of Patsy Knight, I am delighted to be here today for the naming and dedication of this Shannon class lifeboat which will take her name.
‘I know Patsy would have loved to be here today to see that her generosity will benefit the lifesavers who she always admired. Today is a special day for everyone that knew her.’
The new lifeboat Patsy Knight was delivered to Lowestoft lifeboat station on September 20 2014 and following crew training and familiarisation went operational on October 2 2014.
Just four hours after Patsy Knight had been at sea giving a demonstration following the naming ceremony, the volunteer crew were called out to a small fishing boat with engine failure, 800 metres from the harbour entrance. Luckily the stranded boat was safely towed back to Lowestoft by Patsy Knight and the lifeboat crew.
RNLI media contact
• Mick Howes, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Lowestoft RNLI, on 07814 468917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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• Sophie Coller-Nielsen RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789