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Caister lifeboat station celebrates gifting of rescue boat

PUBLISHED: 11:04 04 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:46 06 November 2017

The former Caister lifeboat 'Shirley Jean Adye' has now returned to the town's  lifeboat shed.
Caister lifeboat secretary Derek George with former crew member Percy Griffen.
Picture: Nick Butcher

The former Caister lifeboat 'Shirley Jean Adye' has now returned to the town's lifeboat shed. Caister lifeboat secretary Derek George with former crew member Percy Griffen. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

She saved 59 lives in peril out at sea and was the first of her kind in the country.

The former Caister lifeboat 'Shirley Jean Adye' has now returned to the town's  lifeboat shed.
Former crew member Percy Griffen with his wife Barbara.
Picture: Nick Butcher The former Caister lifeboat 'Shirley Jean Adye' has now returned to the town's lifeboat shed. Former crew member Percy Griffen with his wife Barbara. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Shirley Jean Adye was the nation’s first independent offshore lifeboat that operated from Caister from 1973 until 1991.

In her time she was launched 88 times and helped to save 59 lives.

And now there are celebrations at Caister Lifeboat Station after she was permanently handed over to its heritage centre by its owner.

The Shirley Jean Adye has been ‘on loan’ to the station since 2005 and is the star attraction at the heritage centre, which details more than 200 years of life-saving by brave lifeboat crews.

The former Caister lifeboat 'Shirley Jean Adye' has now returned to the town's  lifeboat shed.
Caister lifeboat secretary Derek George with former crew member Percy Griffen.
Picture: Nick Butcher The former Caister lifeboat 'Shirley Jean Adye' has now returned to the town's lifeboat shed. Caister lifeboat secretary Derek George with former crew member Percy Griffen. Picture: Nick Butcher

She had operated out of Caister after the RNLI controversially said it would axe the village’s lifeboat station - leading to public anger and a fundraising drive to get an independent craft.

The boat was named after the wife of a Shell manager after the company donated the largest amount in the fundraising drive, which also saw lifeboat crew in the village asked to pay £50 each towards her.

Among those celebrating the permanent gifting of the Shirley Jean Adye to the station was Percy Griffin, 84.

He had been a lifeboat man on all her 88 call outs and had been one of the crew who paid £50 towards funding her.

He said: “She always got me home safely on every call. It is great to have her back at her home all the time now. She is a wonderful boat.”

His wife Barbara had been one of the original fundraisers for the boat and said she would go on the “scrounge” to holiday camps for funds and the appeal had been warmly supported.

Caister Lifeboat Station will hold a celebration event on Friday, December 1 to mark the gifting of the Shirley Jean Adye.

Derek George, secretary of the lifeboat station, said: “She is the centre piece of our exhibition here, which reminds everybody of Caister’s long history of life-saving.”

She was a Liverpool class lifeboat built in 1952 and had served at St Abbs Head from February 1953 until November 1964 and was launched 32 times there and saved 13 lives.

The boat could reach a speed of seven knots.

She had been owned by Alan Baker since 1994 and he relocated her to Bassett’s Pole near Sutton Coalfield where she was re-liveried in traditional lifeboat livery.

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