New lifeboat station launched – Swanage Lifeboat Station
Rebuilt to accommodate a new lifeboat, the new Swanage Lifeboat Station opened in April 2017 in an event that was marked by a celebration attended by hundreds of guests.
The opening, hosted by Swanage Royal National Lifeboat Institution also included a formal naming ceremony and service of dedication for its new Shannon class lifeboat named George Thomas Lacy.
A proportion of the funding for the building came from a huge local appeal which raised £465,000, as well as several donations from groups and individuals. The new building became an operational lifeboat station earlier this year.
Constructed by Bam Nuttall and designed by Morgan Design Studio, the new building houses state-of-the-art facilities for crew, as well as facilities for training, maintenance, community education and visitor engagement.
Crowds welcomed the Shannon class lifeboat to the town in April 2016. The vessel has been funded by several group and individual donations and legacies, the largest from Mr George Lacy. Mr Lacy, from Dorset, passed away at the age of 94 and it was his wish that on his death, a generous portion of his estate should go to the RNLI to be used along the Dorset coast.
Speaking at the opening of the new building, Peter Foster, Chair of Swanage Lifeboat Management Group, said: “Benefactors like those of Mr Lacy are very important to the longevity of the RNLI enabling them to save lives at sea with the demand increasing year on year.
“Many of you here today give your time as volunteers, which accounts for 95% of the total of people involved with the lifeboats. Without you and the fantastic fundraising efforts and amounts you raise the RNLI would not exist.
“Our magnificent fundraising efforts here in Swanage, with the help of our local branches, raised £465,000 towards the cost of the new station for which on behalf of all the volunteers at the station I am truly thankful.”
Mr John Whybrow, RNLI National Council Member and patron of Swanage Lifeboat Station Appeal, then officially opened the boathouse and handed over the Shannon into the care of Swanage RNLI. He said: “This station really is state of the art. It is the first boathouse and slipway to be designed specifically for the new Shannon range of life boat.
“The boathouse has excellent accommodation for the crew but also houses the inshore D class lifeboat, Phyl & Jack, which was first brought on service in 2012.
“This is a lifeboat station which all involved can be proud of. It has been made a reality because of the generosity our supporters, donors, fundraisers and station volunteers – and also our neighbours who have shown patience and understanding during the period of construction. I would like to congratulate and thank everyone involved. It is your kindness, and for some your courage, which makes a difference to so many people.”
Situated at the southern end of Swanage Bay, lifeboats have been launching from Swanage Lifeboat Station since 1875.