Ghost of Dunkirk Lifeboat proudly flies the flag

Hastings Old Town enjoyed a fantastic spectacle on Saturday when a celebration took place to mark the historic Hastings lifeboat Cyril and Lilian Bishop earning official Dunkirk Little Ship status.

The lifeboat became known as The Ghost of Dunkirk for the role she played in the last war rescuing troops from the beaches of war-torn France.

Lord Warden raising the flag on the Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat. Photo by Sid Saunders SUS-180528-091942001

Lord Warden raising the flag on the Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat. Photo by Sid Saunders SUS-180528-091942001

The day started with a muster at the lifeboat station to greet special guest the Admiral Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, who had the honour of raising the Little Ships flag.

A procession took place along All Saints Street to the site of the lifeboat, opposite All Saints Church.

Taking part were seven Cinque Ports Mayors, including the Hastings Mayor, along with Sea Cadets, lifeboat crew, coastguards, standard bearers and the Hastings Town Crier Jon Bartholomew.

Dee Day White, of the MacBean and Bishop Lifeboat Trust, which organised the event, said: “The Hastings lifeboat looked splendid in the bright sunshine and the hand over of the flag went to plan.

“After a dedication by our vicars, we made our way to Winkle Island to record the day for prosperity.

“There was a massive ‘Winkle-Up’ with Lord Boyce stealing the limelight with his gold winkle on display. We were joined by TV celebrities Sheila Reid (Madge from Benidorm) and Amanda Burton.

“The parade moved off up All Saints street after a maroon was launched.

“An estimated 300 people made their way up to the Ghost of Dunkirk for another blessing and dedication of the boat flag.

“A wreath was laid by Frank and Marion Thurlow, whose father was rescued from the Dunkirk beaches by the Cyril and Lilian Bishop.

“After a few special words from Lord Boyce, Eric Hardwicke handed him a 2018 half marathon medal as well as a book, The Diary of the Cyril and Lilian Bishop, written by local man David Renno and signed by The Trust, Hastings Mayor and Town Crier.

“We finished with a lone piper’s lament then a hip, hip hooray, then it was down to the Fishermen’s Club for a buffet lunch, courtesy of Skinners Sheds.

“Thank you to everyone for making it all work.”

Pictures by Sid Saunders.

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