Crowds gathered on Skegness beach this morning to say a final farewell to the RNLI Lincolnshire Poacher lifeboat.
The Mersey class lifeboat is now heading for Grimsby docks, where she will be lifted from the water and taken by road to the RNLI headquarters in Poole to join the relief fleet.
Among the crew on board was coxwain Ray Chapman, who is also retiring after 44 years dedicated service which earned him the MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.
Among the crowd waving them off was volunteer April Grunnill, who has worked tirelessly to help raise money for the RNLI in Skegness for 20 years and will offically name the new lifeboat, the Joel and April Grunnill on her birthday, Saturday, April 1.
Thousands of people crowded onto the beach in January to watch the Lincolnshire Poacher accompany the new RNLI Shannon class lifeboat ashore.
The Lincolnshire Poacher remained in service until the volunteer crew completed training last month.
She’s set to sea, in anger 353 times to take her volunteer crews to the the aid of others. 195 people owe her thanks, 38 of those owe her their livesSkegness RNLI
A post on the RNLI Facebook page said: “She’s set to sea, in anger 353 times to take her volunteer crews to the the aid of others. 195 people owe her thanks, 38 of those owe her their lives.”
The Standard joined the crowd on the beach this morning and watched her turn to face the shore for a final salute before heading off to Grimsby.
Many people watch our Facebook Live broadcast and sent her good wishes.
Rachael Calladine said: “Bye old girl,thankyou for all your faithful years of service and the lives you saved,god bless you on your final journey xx”
Sue Carter said: “Beautiful morning for an emotional send off thank you for all your service x”
Neil Doc Worstenholme said: “Watching from Barnsley. “Wish I was there to see it leaving.”
See Wednesday’s Skegness Standard for the full story and pictures.
Many thanks to Steve Duncombe for letting us this picture of the lifeboat and crew.