Old Town set for day to remember

Lifeboat on the move SUS-170615-080536001
Lifeboat on the move SUS-170615-080536001

Hastings Old Town is set for a huge celebration on Saturday when the Ghost of Dunkirk lifeboat makes an historic journey up All Saints Street to its new dry dock.

Crowds will line the street as the boat is hauled along by 150 volunteers, firemen and bonfire boys, led by the Mayor and Town Crier, two Dunkirk veterans, RNLI crews and Coastguards.

Ghost of Dunkirk Poster SUS-170614-140436001

Ghost of Dunkirk Poster SUS-170614-140436001

All Saints Street will be closed to all traffic from 10am - 2pm that day and no parking will be allowed.

Before the boat embarks on her last voyage to the dry dock, there will be a talk at the boat at 10am on the Stade and she will be blessed by Father Robert Featherstone.

Then two maroon rockets will be fired to start the procession.

The procession will be accompanied by shanty singers and will be stopping at The Crown, the Cinque Ports and The Stag pubs for singing and refreshments.

On reaching the end of All Saints Street, the lifeboat will be moved across to her new home opposite All Saints Church, where an RNLI flag is proudly flying.

She will be met by members of the Stables Theatre wearing period costume.

The boat’s service boards and

Dee Day White, who, with Tush Hamilton, played a key role in bringing the lifeboat back to Hastings, said: “This boat is so important to the people of Hastings. She was responsible for the evacuation of hundreds of troops from the beaches of Dunkirk.

“It was there, coming out of the mist, that she earned the name ‘The Ghost of Dunkirk’.

“It will be a great atmosphere on Saturday with the people of the Old Town coming together and doing what they do best - showing real community spirit.

“Come along and see history being made.

“Thank you so much to all the sponsors who have made this really important project work. This would never have happened without you.

“All this has been achieved in less than 18 months of discovering the boat in France. I feel proud to be part of this town called Hastings and the people that make it work.”

Events leading up to the big day got underway on Wednesday June 14 when the lifeboat was moved to the Stade Open Space, beside the Jerwood. She was then joined by the existing Hastings Lifeboat for a Blessing of the Sea ceremony with a brass band playing. Members of the Bishop family, after who the boat is named, attended the event.

On Thursday 15, the Anchor Ukulele Club performed war-time favourites at the boat and entertainment and live music continued on Friday.

The Cyril and Lilian Bishop first came to Hastings in 1931 and was the first Hastings Lifeboat to have an engine. She saved many lives locally.

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