New lifeboat named after Prince Philip takes to water for the first time
- Credit: RNLI/Nathan Williams
A new lifeboat for Wells named in honour of Prince Philip has taken to the water for the first time.
RNLI staff and crew members from Wells Lifeboat Station visited the All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Dorset to celebrate the completion of their new Shannon class lifeboat.
The state-of-the-art vessel is named 'Duke of Edinburgh' after His Royal Highness, who died last year aged 99.
As is tradition at the RNLI, a ceremonial bell was rung eight times to mark the special moment the Shannon came off the production line and entered the water.
Following rigorous sea trials, the lifeboat is due to go into service later this year.
In addition to Prince Philip’s royal title, the boat also bears the names of 15,000 people whose names were submitted by loved ones through the lifeboat charity's 'Launch a Memory' fundraising campaign.
Chris Hardy, Wells Lifeboat Station's lifesaving operations manager, said: "The Shannon will help take us forward in all weathers. The crew are eagerly awaiting her arrival and can’t wait to make the boat fully operational.
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‘The station is immensely proud and honoured to have its new lifeboat named Duke of Edinburgh. We are in no doubt that our new lifeboat will continue the vital work of saving lives at sea, which His Royal Highness was so passionate about throughout his lifelong maritime association."
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have a long history with the RNLI.
Her Majesty has been patron since 1952, while the Duke became a member of its council in 1972.
Together, they visited several RNLI lifeboat stations over the years.
In a nod to his father's proud naval career during which he was Commanding Officer of HMS Magpie, Prince Charles attached a magpie-engraved plate to the Wells lifeboat last June.
Mark Dowie, chief executive of the RNLI, added: "Building lifeboats and lifesaving equipment is something we do every day, but each lifeboat marks a very meaningful moment in history.
"For crews, they are welcoming a new boat which will help our lifesavers work towards saving every one. For RNLI supporters, this lifeboat is launching in memory of so many loved ones every time she receives the call for help."