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Restorer gets key part of old lifeboat

PUBLISHED: 10:51 15 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:01 05 July 2010

A Norfolk boat builder who is restoring a historic lifeboat which lost six of her crew has been given a key part of the boat from a museum.

George Hewitt is restoring the Robert Lindsay, a lifeboat built in 1950 and stationed at Arbroath in Scotland where she capsized losing six of her seven crew in 1953.

A Norfolk boat builder who is restoring a historic lifeboat which lost six of her crew has been given a key part of the boat from a museum.

George Hewitt is restoring the Robert Lindsay, a lifeboat built in 1950 and stationed at Arbroath in Scotland where she capsized losing six of her seven crew in 1953.

The boat is a prime example of a Liverpool class type boat, a design dating back to the 1800s.

But while he has been able to rebuild much of her, the mahogany engine canopy was donated to a museum in Lowestoft when she was converted to a fishing boat, The Zephyr, after she was pensioned out of the RNLI.

Now Lowestoft Museum has agreed to let Mr Hewitt have the engine canopy and he has given the museum a £500 donation in return.

“I want to thank them for letting me have it,” said Mr Hewitt. “It was taken off and Elvin Foster, who owned her, gave it to the museum at some point.

“Part of it was chopped off and went to an old boy to make a garden seat or summer room in Lowesftoft, I've been told.”

While working on acquiring the hood he has been busy on renovating the Robert Lindsay, which he hopes could be launched in the summer next year.

The work has meant returning her to her full length after part of the stern was lopped off to meet fishing regulations.

When Mr Hewitt found her she was abandoned at Wells having fallen into too bad a state of repair to be used for fishing.

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