Photos: (Credit: Andrew Eele/RNLI)
A substantial legacy in memoriam of a relative to the Captain at Spurn Point will provide the majority of the funding for Exmouth RNLI’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat.
The legacy of Joan Welburn from East Devon, who passed away in March 2009 will help fund the new state-of-the-art lifeboat. After bequests to family, friends and other charities, the RNLI were bequeathed her whole residuary estate. This Shannon class lifeboat will equip Exmouth RNLI volunteers with the latest technologies to improve performance in saving lives at sea. This next Shannon class lifeboat is due to arrive at the lifeboat station on 9 May and cost the charity £2 million.
The lifeboat will be called R and J Welburn as a memorial to Joan’s late husband Raymond, who was related to Captain Michael Hansley Welburn, Master of the lifeboat at Spurn Point. Captain Welburn died in 1853 at the age of 37 and his name was recently added to the charity’s memorial at Poole headquarters ‘having lost his life due to exposure to cold while endeavouring to save life and property’.
John Broxup, a close friend of Joan Welburn is delighted the legacy can be invested into the charity’s new generation of all-weather lifeboats locally. He said;
‘Joan would have been extremely proud. It was very important to Joan that her husband’s family would be remembered and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution would benefit in this way.’
The new Shannon class lifeboat will replace Exmouth RNLI’s current Mersey-class lifeboat, Margaret Jean, which shall enter the relief fleet towards the end of May. As the first of the charity’s all-weather lifeboats to be propelled by water jets instead of propellers, the Shannon is the most agile in the Institution’s fleet. Capable of 25 knots, this new generation lifeboat is significantly faster than the Mersey and Tyne-classes it will replace, ensuring those in need are reached even more quickly than before.
Exmouth RNLI will be the first in the South West and second in the whole of the UK and Ireland to receive a Shannon class lifeboat. Volunteer crew are undergoing their intensive two-month training schedule which takes place on Exmouth beach and at the charity’s Lifeboat College at Poole.
Exmouth RNLI Coxswain, Steve Hockings-Thompson said;
‘Our sincere thanks go to the late Joan Welburn for her generosity in providing us with the next state-of-the-art Shannon. It is most fitting that a memorial to her late husband, a relative of a courageous, selfless man who gave his life to save others, will equip our volunteer crew with our new lifeboat. This is will bring life-saving at sea at Exmouth RNLI into the 21st century.’