Lifeboat restoration is going well

Boat Renovation 1 SUS-160211-130317001
Boat Renovation 1 SUS-160211-130317001

Work has been continuing on both of the town’s historic lifeboats.

A number of people have been curious about covers going on either end of the Priscilla Macbean, which is on display near the bottom of Old London Road, on the approach to the Old Town.

Boat Renovation 2 SUS-160211-130300001

Boat Renovation 2 SUS-160211-130300001

Local craftsmen were also spotted working on the boat at the weekend.

The mystery has been cleared up by Dee Day White, who said: “The people of Hastings, who the boat belongs to, have raised concerns.

“We have decided to replace various boards in her top boxes fore and aft. She has also just had a new deck fitted compliments of two local men Rod Evans and Doug.

“The boat will act as the pulpit for the Winkle Club Remembrance Evening in December before the parade down to Winkle Island.

At the same time the Cyril and Lillian Bishop, over by the East Hastings Angling Association building, is being cocooned for the winter so that work can carry on to meet our time schedule of moving her to the Bourne in June 2017.”

A number of individuals and local companies have contributed to the restoration of the Cyril and Lillian Bishop.

The former Hastings lifeboat has an illustrious history, being used to evacuated troops from the beaches of Dunkirk during the Second World War. It was here she earned the name ‘The Ghost of Dunkirk’ for the way she appeared from the mist to aid the stranded troops.

A number of local people have made donations in memory of family members who were at the Dunkirk evacuation.

Dee Day said: “She is a real memorial to so many people and stirs a lot of personal memories.

He added: “The treasurer would like to say thank you very much for all the donations that are being sent through the post to 4 All Saints Crescent, Hastings, TN35 5PD and donations made to collecting boxes throughout the Old Town. People can also make donations at the Santander Bank, Sort code 09-01-28, account number 49444310.”

The Cyril and Lillian Bishop was the Hastings lifeboat for 19 years, between April 29 1931 and March 1950. In that time she saved at least 34 lives off the coast of Hastings and Bexhill.

Built in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, it was the first lifeboat used locally that had an engine.

Her Coxswain at the time, Mr Curtis, said: “She was a fine craft and a smart one. She handles very well and was quick on the helm. The motor ran beautifully.”

When restored, the lifeboat will go on display close to the Market Cross, opposite the Stables Theatre.

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