VOLUNTEERS and supporters of the RNLI will gather in Amble on Saturday when a lifeboat will be formally named in memory of the wife of one of the charity’s long-time supporters.
The £31,000 D class lifeboat is to be named Mildred Holcroft in honour of the late wife of John Holcroft, whose legacy funded the boat.
It went into service at Amble RNLI lifeboat station last summer and operates alongside the all-weather lifeboat, The Four Boys.
At Saturday’s ceremony, Mr Holcroft’s sister Sheila Brown will name the lifeboat by pouring champagne over her bow while her husband Wilfred will formally hand over the vessel.
Amble RNLI operations manager Rodney Burge said everyone is looking forward to the day and to meeting Mr and Mrs Holcroft’s family.
“We are so grateful to Mr Holcroft for the very generous legacy to the RNLI which provided our new lifeboat,” he said.
“We want to be able to thank his family in person and to show them just how important his gift was. The lifeboat has already been used for 18 rescue launches since arriving in Amble last year and has really made a difference to our search and rescue capability.”
He added: “Legacies like Mr Holcroft’s are vital to our charity. Six out of 10 lifeboat launches are only possible because of legacies, so without them our volunteer lifeboatmen and women just wouldn’t be able to carry on doing what they do so well – saving lives at sea.”
Mr Holcroft, who died in 2005, was originally from Goole, East Yorkshire, but latterly lived in Ripon, North Yorkshire. He was a marine engineer in the Merchant Navy and became a Governor of the RNLI.
Mrs Brown said: “John would have been delighted to know that his request had come to fruition in this way and the thought of lives saved because of his support is a happy outcome of his bequest. We are very much looking forward to seeing the Mildred Holcroft and meeting her crew at the naming ceremony on Saturday.”