THE CREW at Skegness RNLI look set to gain a new lifeboat worth £1.5m which will be made possible through funding from the legacy of a life-long volunteer.
The new 25 knot Shannon lifeboat is expected to go on service in 2016 which will replace the current Mersey class Lifeboat, Lincolnshire Poacher, when she comes to the end of her operational life and it will be named after long-serving volunteer Joel and his cousin April Grunnill.
Alan Fisher, Skegness RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said of the announcement on Monday, that it was a ‘huge surprise for everyone’.
“The new lifeboat will be a fitting legacy of a man who was devoted to the RNLI. Every time the volunteer crew go to sea, I know they will be thinking of Joel and all the help and support he gave over the years. He was a quiet man but had a wealth of knowledge and experience which he was always willing to share with the crew.”
Joel was a life-long volunteer, helping to raise funds from as young as three-years-old and served as a lifeboatman for 45 years.
He joined the crew aged 15 at the start of the Second World War and later become the second Coxswain, holding the position for 33 years and helped to save 197 people.
In later years, Joel became the Skegness Lifeboat Station Honorary Secretary and then chairman until his death last May at the age of 86. He was also awarded an MBE for service to the RNLI in 2008.
April Grunnill, who ran a motor mechanic business in Skegness with Joel until their retirement in 1989, has also made a large donation to help fund the lifeboat. April is an RNLI Box Secretary, emptying and counting donations for the RNLI and over the years, has collected £200,000 for the charity.
“Our grateful thanks go out to both him and April for this wonderful gift. The Shannon class lifeboat is a new generation of RNLI vessel, quite different from our current lifeboat, and I know everyone connected with the RNLI in Skegness is very much looking forward to the day she arrives at our lifeboat station,” he added.
The new class of lifeboat is currently undergoing sea trials and the first operational Shannon class lifeboat will go into service next year.