Lifeboat story to be screened

Priscilla SUS-150710-132941001
Priscilla SUS-150710-132941001

The story of how a group of local enthusiasts restored an historic lifeboat to its former glory is to be shown on film.

A special DVD following the journey of the Priscilla MacBean, from abandoned hulk to local monument, will be screened at the East Hastings Angling Club, on the Stade, on Sunday October 25 at 3pm.

The screening is free and will be attended by Hastings Mayor Bruce Dowling, who is a patron of The Priscilla MacBean Trust.

Sid Saunders, who took this picture of the lifeboat, said: “People will have the chance to see the film of the restoration and of the day she was dragged up to her final resting place.”

Local man, and Old Town antiques trader Deeday White, first spotted the remains of the 96 year old, former Eastbourne lifeboat, in a field near Hellingly.

With the help of Tush Hamilton and many volunteers he brought the abandoned lifeboat back to Hastings to be restored.

Charlie Sharrod, one of the restorers, said the boat was in danger of being turned into a chicken coop by the farmer who owned it.

Mr Sharrod, a former Hastings lifeboat coxswain, said: “We thought we couldn’t let it go to rot.”

Built at Cowes in 1921, the Priscilla MacBean was dedicated by the Bishop of Lewes later that year.

A few years later, she was moved to Maryport in Cumbria, before being retired from RNLI service in 1934. The lifeboat was later used as a leisure boat in France and as a pleasure boat on Lake Windermere.

After some years as a houseboat she was bought by someone in Eastbourne with a view to operating her as a pleasure boat, but this did not get off the ground.

She was the sister ship of the Mary Stanford lifeboat at Rye, which was involved in the worst ever disaster of the RNLI when she capsized in a heavy storm in November 1928, with the loss of all 17 crew.

On November 15 last year, the restored Priscilla MacBean was hauled from the Stade Open Space, near Hastings lifeboat station, to her final resting place, a specially prepared site on Hastings Borough Council land at the entrance to the Old Town.

DVD copies of the film will be on sale on the day of the free film screening. All are welcome to attend. For more details call 07812 077008.

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