TWO new lifeboats worth about £500,000 have been unveiled by a rescue service.
Independent lifeboat organisation the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Gafirs) held a ceremony to officially launch the new vessels.
The boats, as well as a new tractor and trailer, were purchased after Gosport businessman Brian Fuller left money in his will for the charity.
The bequest enabled Gafirs to buy a nine-metre RIB, which can reach speeds of 42 knots, and a 4.8m RIB. They have been named Joan Dora Fuller and Ian Fuller respectively after Mr Fuller’s wife and only son.
Roy West was friends with Mr Fuller for 25 years and was at the ceremony today at Gafirs base on Stokes Bay.
He said: ‘It is such a wonderful tribute to Joan and Ian. I am sure that Brian, who was a family man, would love to see the name of his wife and son at sea on missions with Gafirs.
The launch ceremony was really nice and it is a great group of people who volunteer for Gafirs.Roy West
‘It is sad that Brian never got to see the boats but it is lovely to see them finally here.
‘The launch ceremony was really nice and it is a great group of people who volunteer for Gafirs.
‘I can see why Brian during his life was so impressed by them and why he remembered them in his will.’
The ceremony was attended by Mr Fuller’s family as well as the mayor of Gosport Cllr Lynn Hook and the mayor of Fareham Cllr Connie Hockley.
Patron of Gafirs Dee Caffari also attended and christened both boats with champagne.
She said: ‘The new boats are amazing.
‘One of the hardest things for an independent lifeboat service is to get the funds to sustain the work they do.
‘It is fantastic to have the chance to buy two new lifeboats which will give the public confidence in what we do.’
So far this year, Gafirs has been involved in 46 incidents in the Solent. Their volunteers are on-call 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Chairman Keith Thomas said: ‘The new lifeboats will help us deliver a better service. We are absolutely delighted with them. They are superb boats.
‘We were very grateful for Brian’s personal generosity and for how it reflected with Gafirs as a volunteer service for the community.’