Call for lifeboat launch as Royal visitor arrives

The Seahouses lifeboat crew in action. Picture by RNLI.
The Seahouses lifeboat crew in action. Picture by RNLI.

Both lifeboats were requested to launch from Seahouses this morning, just as the Duke of Kent arrived as part of a visit to stations in north Northumberland.

At 10.54am, the crew was called out to search for a missing kite-surfer off Beadnell, two miles south of Seahouses.

The Duke was able to see at first-hand the Grace Darling and Peter Downes being rapidly taken to the launching slip by the volunteer crew, who had assembled in minutes to the pager alert.

At the slipway, as the boats were turning to enter the water, Humber Coastguard cancelled the launch as the kite-surfer had been found safely ashore and was being checked out by shore-based Coastguard officers from Seahouses.

Both lifeboats returned to the station and the Duke was able to meet and chat with the crew and the station souvenir shop volunteer.

He then went aboard the Mersey Class lifeboat, the Grace Darling, with the coxswain/mechanic John Hanvey, who gave him a guided tour. RNLI operations director George Rawlinson was also present along with other officials.

Lifeboat operations manager Ian Clayton said: “I think some thought we had stage-managed the call-out, but it could not have been better timed for the benefit of our Royal visitor!

“Thankfully the kite-surfer was safe and the Duke was able to see the station and crew in action.”