Chance to help with vintage lifeboat project

Volunteers from the Ann Letitia Russell Rescue Group.
Volunteers from the Ann Letitia Russell Rescue Group.

A Fleetwood group which rescued an historic lifeboat and brought it back to the town for restoration is stepping up its activities over the summer – and seeking more volunteers.

The 41ft vessel, Ann Letitia Russell, which helped save more than 150 lives with Fleetwood RNLI from 1939 to 1976, was returned to the town nearly two years ago from a Lowestoft marina in poor condition.

In an ambitious operation, the vessel arrived in Fleetwood on the back of a flatback truck and is currently being restored in the compound opposite Fleetwood’s fish dock by members of the Ann Letitia Russell Rescue Group.

The hope is that, once restored to her former glory at a total cost of some £60,000, the vessel can be displayed at a suitable location on Fleetwood seafront.

Work has just resumed after the winter break and new volunteers would be welcome to help with the various jobs.

Jeff Jackson, a member of the group, said: “We are getting going again after the winter break and will be cleaning her up, removing some more of the old paint and applying the full treatment of new paint and wood preserver. New volunteers are always welcome to pop down and lend a hand.”

Since the vessel was brought back to Fleetwood, the volunteers have removed many of the non-lifeboat features which dated from the time the vessel was adapted for use as a houseboat. Extensive restoration work will be needed on the lower and upper decks and the group is considering the installation of a coxswain’s cockpit if the lifeboat is to be fully restored to her former glory.

A Lottery grant is being drawn up to raise the funds needed and further fund-raisers are to be staged. Volunteers can join the group at the docks compound on Saturday mornings at 10.30am or phone Jeff on 07990 838111.