Wells lifeboat named in Duke of Edinburgh's honour
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has announced a new lifeboat based at Wells will be named in honour of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The state-of-the-art Shannon class boat (ON1346) is due to go into service in late 2022.
The RNLI said it was delighted to honour Prince Philip’s longstanding commitment to maritime services and lifetime of support to The Queen.
Prince Philip died on April 9 this year, aged 99. The lifeboat at Wells will serve a coastline just a few miles from his home at Sandringham.
The Queen and Prince had a long history with the RNLI.
Her Majesty has been Patron of the lifesaving charity since 1952 and the Duke of Edinburgh became a member of the RNLI Council in 1972.
Together, they visited several RNLI lifeboat stations over the years, the most recent being the opening of Cowes Lifeboat Station and the naming of its Atlantic 85 class boat in July 2012.
The announcement is being made 71 years to the day that The Duke of Edinburgh assumed command of HMS Magpie in 1950 – his very first sea-going command in the Royal Navy.
And in a further nod to that proud moment in his naval career, the Prince of Wales attached a magpie-engraved plate to the new lifeboat which will bear the Duke of Edinburgh’s name and which is currently being built at the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat centre, in Poole, Dorset.
RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie said: "It’s a great honour, not just for Wells Lifeboat Station but for the RNLI as a whole.
"We had hoped to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s long service and support for the maritime sector by naming a lifeboat in his honour in his 100th year.
"We heard that the Duke was pleased to learn of the plans to name a lifeboat after him and that it was going to be serving a community so close to Sandringham. Very sadly The Duke passed away before His Royal Highness could see it happen, but we are delighted to pay tribute to his legacy in this way today."
Wells lifeboat operations manager Chris Hardy said: "Wells Lifeboat Station is immensely proud and honoured to have its new Shannon class lifeboat named Duke of Edinburgh. We are in no doubt that our new lifeboat will continue the vital work of saving lives at sea, which we know His Royal Highness was so passionate about throughout his lifelong maritime association."
The new lifeboat is the 53rd funded by the generosity of civil servant donations to The Lifeboat Fund as part of the Civil Service charity’s 150th anniversary appeal.
Chair of the Lifeboat Fund and director of GCHQ, Sir Jeremy Fleming said: "The Lifeboat Fund is delighted to be the principal donor for the new lifeboat at Wells-next-the-Sea.
"It’s the second lifeboat for Wells with a royal association, the first being the Royal Silver Jubilee that was on service at the station from 1936 to 1945. This one seems especially fitting."