Crowds lined Amble quayside this afternoon to give a warm welcome to the town's new Shannon-class lifeboat.
The £2million vessel pulled into Radcliffe Quay at 3pm, escorted by the inshore lifeboat and the outgoing all-weather Mersey-class lifeboat, The Four Boys, which will be replaced by the Shannon.
Musician Beverley Palin was aboard The Four Boys to pipe in the Shannon and the public waved flags and cheered as the new state-of-the-art boat pulled into the harbour.
To help pay for the Shannon, a £200,000 fund-raising appeal was launched in 2014. Thanks to wide-ranging support, the ambitious total was smashed in June this year – a month ahead of schedule. As part of the money-making efforts, the Shannon was the beneficiary of the Northumberland Gazette’s Jam Jar Army campaign in 2015.
Today's arrival of the Shannon was a proud moment for the town and everyone associated with the RNLI. Amble RNLI Coxswain John Connell steered her into the harbour. He said: "It was phenomenal. The work that the fund-raisers have done has been overwhelming and it was quite a welcome for her. She is super and I felt very proud and privileged to be the coxswain who brought her in."
Katrina Cassidy, chairman of Amble Lifeboat Fund-raisers, said: “Today was the culmination of really hard work by the fund-raisers; it is quite an emotional day. When we were set the target we couldn't comprehend reaching it but we have surpassed that."
The Shannon is the RNLI’s next generation all-weather lifeboat and is the most agile in the RNLI fleet. It is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets and not propellers. Capable of 25 knots, the Shannon is 50 per cent faster than the vessels it replaces, ensuring that those in need are reached more quickly than before.
The boat was built at the RNLI's All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, Dorset. It was originally due to arrive in Amble in October, but this was delayed until today after the vessel developed engine trouble en route.