IT’S full steam ahead for a team of boating enthusiasts as they start a project to renovate a 90 year old lifeboat.
The Priscilla MacBean, which was built in 1921 in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, was the first beach-landed lifeboat designed for motor and sail and oars.
The vessel is now at East Hastings Sea Angling Club’s boat compound ready for restoration work to start in the New Year.
Old Towner D-Day White spotted the hull of the lifeboat in a field in Hailsham earlier this year. When he discovered it was to be left to rot he was determined to recover the boat. Together with Tush Hamilton he bought the Priscilla MacBean before it was moved to 1066 Country.
He, and the rest of the project team, which includes Charlie Sharrod, a former Hastings lifeboat coxswain, along with other present and past lifeboatmen in Hastings, want to restore the vessel to its former glory.
Mr Sharrod said: “Work is under way to cover the boat in order to allow the timbers to dry out in preparation for restoration work to start in January.
“Some of the original parts of the vessel have been recovered thanks in no small part to the articles published in the Hastings Observer and Eastbourne Herald in November. Several professional carpenters and joiners have come forward to offer their assistance and a volunteer work programme will be drawn up next spring. A programme of fundraising is now under way and interested parties who wish to assist the small community group restoring the vessel should get in touch. This will help this historic lifeboat reach her final destination and be presented to the public as a reminder of the selfless sacrifice of our brave lifeboatmen.
“Plans are being drawn up for the site of its final home to be at the top of Old Town. We are surprised and delighted at the amount of enthusiasm people have given to the idea and are grateful to those who have offered their voluntary service and financial contributions to enable the task to be completed.”
The boat was originally built for service at Eastbourne. In 1928 the vessel was moved to Kirkcudbright in Scotland to cover the area of the Solway Firth. A few years later she was moved to Maryport in Cumbria before ending its RNLI service in 1934.