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Spirit of Lowestoft set to live on ‘for years to come’

PUBLISHED: 14:04 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:04 27 February 2019

The Spirit of Lowestoft lifeboat passing CEFAS as she left the town for the final time in 2014. Picture: Mick Howes

The Spirit of Lowestoft lifeboat passing CEFAS as she left the town for the final time in 2014. Picture: Mick Howes

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A popular all-weather lifeboat will soon be given a new lease of life when she arrives shortly in Kent.

The former Tyne-class Lowestoft Lifeboat, named the Spirit of Lowestoft, is set to go on show as a museum exhibit.

Having been part of the RNLI’s relief fleet since leaving operational service at her hometown in 2014, the Spirit of Lowestoft will continue at a lifeboat museum.

With the last remaining operational Tyne-class lifeboat in service at the Irish port of Wicklow due to end her working life soon, the RNLI has decided to put the ‘Spirit of Lowestoft’ Tyne-class lifeboat on show alongside other historic lifeboats at a maritime museum.

The museum at Chatham features the UK’s largest collection of historic lifeboats and is situated on part of the site of the former royal naval dockyard at Chatham in Kent.

The Tyne was the lifeboat charities fastest all-weather lifeboat when she was introduced to the fleet in 1982, with production ending in 1990.

With a top speed of 18 knots, the Tyne was a revolutionary design in its day, but has now been superseded by the Shannon class, propelled by water jets instead of traditional propellers and is the RNLI’s most manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet.

Lifeboat spokesman Mick Howes said: “It was a sad moment for many lifeboat crew members and local people alike when the town’s former trusty lifeboat, the Spirit of Lowestoft, finally left the port on November 1, 2014 after faithfully serving the port for 27 years.

“But it is good to know that after being used in the relief fleet, and because she has been well looked after and is in such a good condition, that she will now be on show for visitors to see for years to come.”

Since responding to her first callout on November 15, 1987 the Spirit of Lowestoft – with the lifeboat number 47-020 – was launched a total of 551 times, as she rescued 661 people and saved 83 lives.

The all-weather offshore lifeboat cost £450,000 and was funded by a successful appeal by the Lowestoft Journal.

It was named the Spirit of Lowestoft in recognition of the huge public support at the time.

■ A spring coffee morning will be held at Pakefield Church Hall from 10am to noon on Saturday, March 2. Stalls will include cakes and savories, cards for all occasions, jewellery, handbags and fabrics, bring and buy and a raffle. All proceeds will benefit Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat.

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