Brave crew’s triple rescue mission

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The lifeboat the Maude Pickup was christened around March 22nd 1894.

It was to replace the original boat, The Edith, which was used from 1887 until the beginning on 1894. The Maude Pickup was a large sailing boat, created in Dumbarton, and sailed to Fleetwood via Southport. The boat was a modification of the lifeboat designed for the Southport station in 1887.

Fitted with water ballast confined to five tanks, it also had a deck, relieving valves and side air cases, which were similar to that of a self-righting boat. It had a large drop keel and a raised deck forward to throw off the seas which broke over the bows. At 43ft long and 12.5ft wide, she was fitted to row with 10 oars when required. Built by Messrs R McAlister and Son, the cost was said to be £875, £300 of which was contributed by the Fleetwood Lifeboat branch. The rest of the monies were bequeathed by the late Mr James Pickup of Southport, who left a legacy to the Lifeboat institution.

Her first major call out came on the December 22, 1894, when a three-masted schooner, the Annie Park of Barrow ran aground on the North Wharf Bank at 6.30pm. In very stormy seas and full north-westerly gales the lifeboat men battled their way to the rescue. By the time they arrived the schooner had righted herself, but was completely disabled as most of her sails had blown away. The vessel was eventually boarded by the lifeboat crew and secured to a tug with a tow-line so it could be pulled into port.

In 1895 Robert Wright retired, allowing David Leadbetter to become coxwain. Wright had been a member of the lifeboat team for 36 years and coxwain for 17.

In June of 1897, during the impressive storm which wrecked the Barque The Foudroyant at Blackpool, the Maude Pickup and her crew mounted the rescue of three separate vessels at once; all were which were all foundering off the coast at Fleetwood. The Svallen, a barque bound for Glasson Dock, the Zillah, and the barque the Louise were all embattled by the storm. The lifeboat crew saved the lives of all crew members of each of the vessels, 17 in total. Three were rescued from the Svallen, five from the Zillah and nine from the Louise, whilst their heroism was watched from shore by vast crowds of people.

The men who saved those lives, were David Leadbetter, Joseph Leadbetter, Richard Wright, Matthew Boardman, John Salthouse, Charles Hughes, John Leadbetter, Thomas Leadbetter, Matthew Cowell, Tom Perry, John Wright, Fred Bettiss, Lawrence Bond, Nicholas Abram, and Jim Roskell.

In the November of 1897 the lifeboat men showed once again just how brave they were when a storm of gales blew up on the 28th, a Sunday.

And the astonishing story of how they rescued the crew of the Larnaca will be on this page next week.

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