Repeat of history in the Old Town

Boat Arrival 2 SUS-170905-103522001
Boat Arrival 2 SUS-170905-103522001

History is set to repeat itself on Saturday June 17 when the restored Cyril and Lillian Bishop lifeboat will be hauled along All Saints Street.

The boat, known as The Ghost of Dunkirk, will be travelling to a special display site at Market Cross, opposite All Saints Church, which has been prepared for her.

Boat Arrival 1 SUS-170905-103348001

Boat Arrival 1 SUS-170905-103348001

Dee Day White said: “The Cyril and Lillian Bishop arrived on Hastings Beach at 11.20am on April 29, 1931, welcomed into the harbour by two maroons. Later she arrived back on Hastings beach at 11.20am on July 1 2016, again welcomed by two maroons, after being away for 66 years.

“She had been converted into a fishing boat in Scotland, found and saved by the Dunkirk Small Ships Society, and returned to Southampton where she was put up for sale.

“She was bought by boatbuilder Simon Evans, who moved her to his yard four hours the other side of Paris.

“She was found by the Trust who put the Priscilla Macbean Lifeboat, in the Bourne. We were determined to bring her home. Skinners Sheds paid the price to save her and you know the rest.

“The iconic Hastings lifeboat, spent four days and nights on Dunkirk beach in June 1940, saving around 3,000 troops.

“On Wednesday June 14 at noon, this grand old lady of the sea, following her complete restoration, will be placed in the same position as the 1938 photograph we have of her on Hastings seafront.

“We will replicate the image and carry out the blessing of the sea.

“There will be two Hastings lifeboats, a brass band and a dedicated service for our Dunkirk hero and survivor.

“She will remain on display on Thursday June 15 and Friday 16 when there will be live music played from the boat and an auction of donated maritime items to raise funds for the Trust.”

Dee Day and John ‘Tush’ Hamilton, from the Trust, will give a talk and Jonathan Mendenhall will narrate the story of the boat. There will be sea shanty singers and a dedication to the RNLI and Hastings fishermen.

Dee Day said: “On Saturday June 17, All Saints Street will be closed and emptied as 150 volunteers on ropes haul the boat.

“Work on the dry dock at Market Cross, has already started, carried out by our landscape gardeners Alan and Ray. Thank you to Broxbourne Plant for the digger they provided.

“We still need £10,000 for materials, concrete and electronics, to form her dry dock. All donations can be made to Santander Bank, sort code 09-01-08, account number 49444310, or sent to The Treasurer, 4, All Saints Crescent, Hastings, TN35 5PD.

More on the June event and story of the boat from Dee Day in next week’s edition.

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