New lifeboat comes to Lowestoft

NEW LIFEBOAT: This is the new style of lifeboat which should arrive in Lowestoft either next year or 2014.

The �1.5m Patsy Knight will become operational when she replaces the Tyne class Spirit of Lowestoft lifeboat which has served the town for 25 years since taking to the water in 1987.

The lifeboat crew had a chance to see what their 'remarkable' new life-saving vessel would be capable of when they were given the opportunity to go out on a prototype of the Patsy Knight.

The boat – which will become the first Shannon class lifeboat to operate on the East Anglian coast – is powered by a jet drive system instead of propellers, and has a top speed of 25 knots. Inside are shock-absorbing seats which offer comfort at high speed in rough weather and a shared communication system.

Paul Carter, Lowestoft lifeboat operations manager, said: 'The crew invited me along on the trial off Lowestoft and I could see how impressed they were with the boat, as I was too. It is truly a remarkable boat.'

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A spokesman for the RNLI added: 'The crew had the opportunity to go to sea and put the new boat through her paces. They were all impressed with the speed and manoeuvrability of the new lifeboat.'

The town's new lifeboat is named in tribute to Patsy Knight who died in May 2005 at the age of 63.

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Mrs Knight, who had lived in Kessingland since 1987 and also owned holiday homes in the village and at Pakefield, left �1.3m in her will to the RNLI as she spent many hours watching the Lowestoft lifeboat crew taking part in rescue missions or practising their manoeuvres along the coast.

The state-of-the-art Shannon class boats are designed to be self-righting and can be launched and recovered from beaches independent of slipways and harbours. They are eight knots faster than the Spirit of Lowestoft.

As reported in The Journal last year, Mrs Knight also left more than �1m to Cancer Research UK, which used the money to set up a research unit in London.

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