April 29, 2015
Recently Berthon had the honour of welcoming a benefactor to one of the new Shannon Class lifeboats. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is the charity that saves lives at sea and is principally funded by legacies and donations for its 236 lifeboat stations and over 430 lifeboats.
It was Berthon’s pleasure to be able to host Mr High and two members of his family, as the new Shannon class lifeboat that he has helped to fund hit the water. She will be stationed at Ilfracombe in Devon and will be handed over to the RNLI in the coming weeks once sea trials have been completed.
Mr High, who turns 98 in June was taken onboard “RNLB The Barry and Peggy High Foundation” for a short sea trial heading out towards Hurst Castle and back in perfect Spring weather. It is very rare for a living donor to actually see the completed boat they have paid for let alone have a run out on it, and he also met the Ilfracombe mechanic designated to keep her ready to rock ‘n roll 24/7.
This new Shannon class lifeboat will replace the current 24 year old Mersey class lifeboat SPIRIT OF DERBYSHIRE, which has come to the end of its service at Ilfracombe. It is expected that the new £1.5 million all-weather lifeboat will be in service for approximately 50 years. This new breed of craft are the first of the RNLI fleet to be powered by water jets rather than propeller, making it is the most manoeuvrable and agile lifeboat built with a 25 knot top speed that will enable the RNLI to get to casualties quicker.
Mr High is a yachtsman and owns a Hardy 42 because he saw and liked the RNLI using them as training vessels (incidentally, both of which are due in to Berthon this summer for a refit). He has been an RNLI offshore member for many years and wanted to name a lifeboat in memory of his late wife.
RNLI naming ceremony is scheduled for the 26th June in Ilfracombe.