Boat is all ready for big celebration

Lifeboat celebration 1 SUS-170806-072455001
Lifeboat celebration 1 SUS-170806-072455001

The Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat has had its final coat of paint in readiness for its historic journey up All Saints Street next week.

Dee Day White, who, with Tush Hamilton, played a key role in bringing the lifeboat back to Hastings, said: “Would you believe that 77 years ago last week the Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat returned to Hastings from Dunkirk, battle scarred and damaged.

Liefboat celebaration 2 SUS-170806-072506001

Liefboat celebaration 2 SUS-170806-072506001

“Two German bullet holes, bomb damage and evidence of a capsize told their tale, but she was responsible for the evacuation of around 3,000 troops from the beaches.”

Mayor, and Patron of the Macbean and Bishop Trust has been busy recently visiting the many local sponsors who have contributed to restoring the boat to its former glory.

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

“Skinners Sheds, with the initial purchase of the lifeboat, made it all possible.

“Robert Finn, who is surely the best signwriter in town, has been applying real gold leaf lettering to the boat’s bow as a boat without a name is not a boat.”

An RNLI flag is now proudly flying at the new dry dock for the boat opposite All Saints Church by Market Cross.

Dee Day said: “Every flag tells a story and this one tells a real story for Old Town people.

“Bertie White, fisherman all his life, lifeboat crew member and a medal winner mentioned in various rescues, died three years ago and the flag that now graces the dry dock was his coffin drape. The flag was loaned by his son Peter. This dry dock area will be a wonderful asset for the town to be proud of. Well done to Alan and Ray for their efforts.”

Events get underway on Wednesday June 14 with a Blessing of the Sea ceremony at 6.30pm and a brass band playing from 5.30pm. On Thursday 15, from 5pm, the Anchor Ukulele Club will be performing war-time favourites at the boat, followed by Jiggery Pokery, at 6pm. This will be followed by more entertainment throughout the evening. Celebrations continue at the boat on Friday June 16 from 3pm. The main event happens on Saturday June 17 with a dedication to the boat at 10am before it is hauled up All Saints Street by 150 volunteers, firemen and bonfire boys, led by the Mayor and Town Crier, two Dunkirk veterans, RNLI crews and Coastguards. All Saints Street will be closed to all traffic from 10am - 2pm that day and no parking will be allowed.

There will be refreshments and sing-songs, with Shanty singers at the Crown, Cinque Ports, and Stag pubs.

On reaching the end of All Saints Street the boat will be moved to her permanent dry dock.

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