Historic sailpast for Hayling RNLI's 100 years

THERE were cheers as a 17th century canon heralded the start of an historic sailpast to mark 100 years of Hayling Island RNLI.

Monday, 9th May 2016, 6:06 am

Hundreds of people gathered at the Lifeboat station on Saturday for the celebration of 100 years of saving lives by volunteers.

The day began with the rededication of the Lifeboat Station, in Sandy Point, by the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster.

At 12.30pm members of the Fort Cumberland Guard reenactment group, from the Royal Marines Museum, in Southsea, fired the canon to launch the sailpast.

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It was led by Emsworth’s oyster boat, Terror, which was a followed by the Langstone Gig and Cutters – in the 10-oared rowing boats used by the original Hayling lifeboatmen.

Around 100 boats joined in the parade.

Alan Bartlett, from Hayling RNLI, said: ‘Hayling Lifeboat Station opened in 1865 and operated till 1924.

‘RNLI lifeboats returned to Hayling in 1975 and have been here ever since.

‘This is a celebration of 100 years of saving lives.

‘There is a huge number of leisure sailors, swimmers and boaters, and a few commercial vessels, on Hayling.

‘Every year we averaged between 80 to 90 call outs.

‘The RNLI is like one big family.

‘We have a crew of about 40 and their partners are also part of the team of wonderful, brave and generous folk here at Hayling RNLI.

‘It has been a wonderful day and it shows what people think of our volunteers.’

Kay Hazleton, from Hayling, said: ‘I feel safe knowing there are volunteers there if we ever need them.’

In the 100 years Hayling RNLI has been operating, volunteers have saved 543 lives and rescued 1,802 people.

Lifeboats have launched 2,762 times.

New volunteers are always needed.

To find out more go to haylinglifeboats.org.uk.