HRH Duke of Kent boarding Exmouth’s Shannon class lifeboat
HRH Duke of Kent sitting in the Coxswain’s seat of Exmouth’s Shannon class lifeboat before the launch
HRH Duke of Kent on the deck of the Shannon class lifeboat with crew volunteers during recovery
– credit RNLI/Mike Powell for all
Exmouth RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew and fundraisers welcomed His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent to their lifeboat station this afternoon (Thursday 19 March).
During the visit, the Duke who is the President of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), joined the volunteer crew on exercise aboard Exmouth’s Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn. As part of the exercise, under the guidance of the Coxswain, he was given the opportunity to launch the lifeboat into the Exe Estuary and given a demonstration of the state-of-the-art lifeboat’s capabilities and its unique Launch and Recovery System.
The Duke of Kent continued his visit by meeting station, fundraising and shop volunteers inside the five year old boathouse on Queen’s Drive, where he heard about their commitment to the charity that saves lives at sea.
Steve Hockings-Thompson, Exmouth RNLI Coxswain said;
‘It was a great pleasure to offer His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent the opportunity to spend some time onboard our new lifeboat. The Duke has been interested throughout the development of the RNLI’s new, water jet propelled Shannon class lifeboat, so it was a delight to be able to show off our operational lifeboat, which is the first in the south west.
As a station, the volunteers have been extremely busy, raising the funds needed for the Shannon and its Launch and Recovery System, training in the new systems and technology and welcoming the new lifeboat to the station, so its great that His Royal Highness was able to see the results of all this hard work.’
Steve presented the Duke of Kent with a framed photo of the Exmouth Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn as it arrived in Exmouth on 9 May 2014.
Kevin Riley MBE, the Lifeboat Operations Manager at Exmouth RNLI says;
‘It was a great honour to welcome the Duke of Kent, President and supporter of our charity to our station in Exmouth.
It was a pleasure to meet him and tell him all about the commitment and dedication of all of our volunteers, including the fundraisers whose vital work ensure the volunteer crew can continue to do their lifesaving work.
The visit was made even more special with the arrival of Spring sunshine which provided a perfect backdrop to the Shannon and Exe Estuary, showing off our special part of the RNLI at its best. We’ll look forward to welcoming the Duke back soon.’
HRH The Duke of Kent has been President of the RNLI since 1969. He succeeded both his parents as President of the charity. The last time he visited Exmouth lifeboat station was in 1996 when he was invited to name the station’s Forward Birmingham Trent class lifeboat, which the generous people of Birmingham helped fund. His Royal Highness also named Exmouth’s Brede class lifeboat Caroline Finch with his wife, HRH The Duchess of Kent, in 1984.