High Sheriff awards lifeboat top accolade

Fleetwood Lifeboat crew and former lifeboat service people gather for a celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of the William Street lifeboat.
Fleetwood Lifeboat crew and former lifeboat service people gather for a celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of the William Street lifeboat.

Fleetwood’s premier lifeboat has marked its 25th anniversary in the port.

The crew of the all-weather lifeboat William Street has saved 500 lives in the vessel’s two and half decades serving with Fleetwood RNLI.

And the crew were not about to let such a significant occasion pass by.

Capt Dave Eccles, Fleetwood RNLI operations manager, said the lifeboat deserved every credit.

He added:“William Street is still as strong as the day she came to Fleetwood.

“She replaced the Lady of Lancashire, and some of the original crew members came to the station for the celebration.

“Bill Rawcliffe and Barry Farmer were there – they served on the Lady of Lancashire and also the lifeboat before that, Letitia Russell.

“Steve Carroll and I have both served on the Lady of Lancashire before William Street, and we are looking forward to being on board the new Shannon class lifeboat, which is due to take over in 2016.”

VIP guest at the bash on Saturday was High Sheriff of Lancashire, Dr Barry Johnson, who gave the Tyne Class lifeboat an outstanding service award.

Capt Eccles added: “The sheriff has never awarded a certificate to a boat before and was pleased to celebrate the anniversary with us.

“After the do at the station, we went to the Steamer pub for pie and peas. The Steamer has been the Lifeboat crew’s official pub for the past 25 years.

“It was a great occasion and a fantastic achievement. It was good to see the old crew and their wives and partners again.”

There was no let up for the crew on Sunday morning, however.

They were called out to rescue a couple of people on board an angling boat which has broken down. They were towed safely back to shore.