The Royal National Lifeboat Institution crew at Fleetwood Lifeboat Station and Pro Boating are celebrating this week after it was officially announced that their new Shannon Class all-weather lifeboat will be arriving Spring 2019.
The lifeboat is set to be named in honour of a young RAF pilot who died during World War II.
The acquisition of the new lifeboat has mainly been funded by the legacy of a very generous lady, Miss Kathleen Mary Pierpoint. She passed away on 31 May 2012, leaving the majority of her estate to the RNLI charity in memory of her brother, Kenneth James Pierpoint, who was a Royal Air Force pilot and passed away tragically on 28 August 1942 at the age of 20.
Miss Pierpoint, from Altrincham, Cheshire, specified that the gift was to be used towards a lifeboat in memory of her brother and, thanks to this act of kindness, RNLI Fleetwood have been allocated a Shannon Class lifeboat which will replace the current Tyne vessel, named William Street.
The Shannon lifeboats will provide a significant upgrade as they are the first all-weather lifeboats to operate with water jets instead of traditional propellers, allowing for greater speed and maneuverability. They are also designed to operate in shallower waters which will allow greater efficiency in responding to calls along the River Wyre. With a 50% increase in speed and weighing 8 tonnes less than the current Tyne lifeboat it will be possible to cut down the time needed to react to emergency situations where every second is vital. A computerised Systems and Information Management System will be available allowing all onboard crew to operate controls from any position meaning they can stay seated, and safe, for longer.
To commemorate the generosity of Miss Pierpoint, a decision has been made to officially name the lifeboat RNLB Kenneth James Pierpoint, a fitting tribute for a wonderful act of kindness. The RNLI will be holding a Naming and Dedication ceremony to show their appreciation once the lifeboat is on station.