This is a very special motor-boat. Originally funded via donations for the Caister Lifeboat Station, and in no small way from a donor echoed in her original name of “The Bernard Matthews”, she was built by Goodchild Marine of Great Yarmouth to a Lochin design – thus her serial number 38.01.
She served faithfully at the Caister station (and was carriage-launched) until 2004), when she was superceded by a new shoal draft craft operating on twin jet-drives:
“The Bernard Matthews has been the busiest lifeboat ever on the station, carrying out many remarkable rescues. The sad epic on the 8th – 9th December 1993 truly demonstrated why Caister has the motto “Caister Men Never Turn Back”, but whilst no one was saved the letter from the commander of HMS Nottingham is clear.
On the 1st October 1995 the yacht “Sequina” was aground on the Scroby Sands in a force 7 gale. Dick Thurlow and the crew plucked 4 people from the capsized vessel. This was after the previous Sunday the crew had rescued 9 people aboard the Dutch yacht “Madame”.
Another heroic rescue took place on the 27th July 2000, when the Caister lifeboat provided assistance to the yacht ZIPPA.”
She was then moved to Blyth in Northumberland, and is now placed in the market by her Owners.
As the Blyth All Weather Independent Lifeboat, she carried out many outstanding rescues from the moment she arrived in 2000. Constructed with a large keel and bilge keels ensure that the propellers and shaft remain protected, even if aground. The vessel is thought to be unique in its construction, allowing for beaching.
As the vessel was built for an independent rescue organisation, the RNLI had no involvement in its design and construction. Although being built by Goodchild, it was built to the same standards as the RNLI boats of the era.