Fleetwood RNLI rescue was the circle of lifeboats

The yacht Grey Dawn, originally the lifeboat vessel Oldham which helped save 69 lives in Pembrokeshire, was rescued by Fleetwood Lifeboat at Skippool Creek.
The yacht Grey Dawn, originally the lifeboat vessel Oldham which helped save 69 lives in Pembrokeshire, was rescued by Fleetwood Lifeboat at Skippool Creek.

When Fleetwood’s lifeboats were called out to attend a broken down vessel in Skippool, their crews expected it to be one of the usual yachts berthed along the creek.

And when they pulled alongside it, it was clear the boat, which had a packed-in old engine, had seen 
better days.

When Fleetwood Lifeboat helped out this yacht, they discovered it was a former lifeboat.

When Fleetwood Lifeboat helped out this yacht, they discovered it was a former lifeboat.

But the volunteers were in for a surprise when the converted yacht, named Grey Dawn, turned out to have a history close to their hearts.

The boat was none other than the historic former lifeboat ON 530 Oldham which had, in a former life, helped save 69 lives in Pembrokeshire more than 100 years ago and was built in 1904.

Owner Paul Mills, of Fleetwood, is even planning to restore it to its former glory.

Tony Cowell, coxswain of Fleetwood RNLI, inset, said: “We certainly weren’t expecting the job to involve one of the old Watson 
class lifeboats.

Fleetwood RNLI coxswain, Tony Cowell

Fleetwood RNLI coxswain, Tony Cowell

“It turned out this vessel has a fantastic history in the lifeboat service and saved nearly 70 lives.

“We could see the boat had seen better days but it’s great Paul is going to restore her.”

Fleetwood inshore lifeboat, Mary Elizabeth Barnes and all-weather lifeboat, Kenneth James Pierpoint, both attended the incident.

A volunteer lifeboat crew member was put aboard the yacht and the Grey Dawn, with Paul and three friends still aboard, was towed back to Jubilee Quay in Fleetwood.

Paul said: “A big thanks to Fleetwood lifeboat for 
coming out to me.

“They don’t get enough credit for the good work they do, but I for one, will always have respect for the team.”

The old lifeboat was converted into a yacht in the 1960s and started a new 
existance, before a gradual 
decline, but a new chapter is about to start.