New lifeboat launched in Wells after dedication ceremony

Wells Next to the Sea new inshore lifeboat hits the waves.

Wells Next to the Sea new inshore lifeboat hits the waves. - Credit: Archant

A service of dedication and official naming ceremony of a new inshore lifeboat was held today (Sunday) at Wells RNLI lifeboat Station.

Wells Next to the Sea new inshore lifeboat hits the waves.

Wells Next to the Sea new inshore lifeboat hits the waves. - Credit: Archant

More than 200 guests and supporters of the RNLI took part in the ceremony at the Wells Boathouse.

Peter Wilcox is the 12th D-class inshore boat to be stationed at Wells since this type of lifeboat was first introduced in the early 1960s.

She's been named after the late Peter Wilcox, who's widow Jayne officially named her by pouring champagne over the bows. As the lifeboat is an inflatable it's not possible the crack a bottle over her in the traditional manner.

Peter Wilcox, from Windsor in Surrey, was a keen supporter of the RNLI all his life. In his later years, he fell in love with North Norfolk and bought a holiday home in nearby Weybourne. Having supported many charities throughout his life, his ambition though was to sponsor a lifeboat.

Friend, Robert Holland, who gave a reading called 'It's a Shout', said how he'd once been summoned by Peter to be told that they were going to sponsor a lifeboat. That wish came true after he had died, when, with the support of family and friends, he was chosen to sponsor the new lifeboat for Wells.

RNLI Council member, William Everard, accepted the lifeboat from Jayne Wilcox and then handed it into the care of Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, and Wells Lifeboat Station. Lifeboat Chaplain, Rev Neil Woodruff led the service of dedication.

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The ceremony also had its light-hearted moments, with Fakenham Town Band playing 'Satisfaction' and 'Goodbye Ruby Tuesday', as Peter was a Stones fan. The Blakeney Old Wild Rovers also sang 'Home From the Sea', a shanty about a lifeboat rescue.

At the end of proceedings, Lord Leicester, who is President of Wells Lifeboat, gave a vote of thanks. Afterwards, the lifeboat was launched and the crew showed her paces round the inner harbour.

Mrs Wilcox said: 'I'm so proud of my late husband; he had so much admiration for the work the RNLI carried out that it was his great wish that one day he would be able to gift a lifeboat to them.'

And she added: 'I'm so proud of all the crew here at Wells - they are heroes. They put their lives at risk whenever that pager sounds, all voluntarily.'

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