TV appearance for historic Sheringham lifeboat

An appearance on a television antiques show has helped showcase a seaside heritage centre in north Norfolk.

BBC 2's Antiques Road Trip dropped into the Fishermen's Heritage Centre earlier in the year - but the episode has only recently been screened.

John Gardiner from the Sheringham and District Society which runs the venue said publicity about the appearance had sparked interest in the attraction, which house's the town's oldest surviving lifeboat the Henry Ramey Upcher.

The centre is now closed for the winter, but will be busy preserving exhibits over the closed season, ready to resume public openings next spring. Mr Gardiner was interviewed on the show by presenter Mark Hales, and, wearing an old fashioned lifejacket, told him about the boat's history.

The 'Ramey' was built, by eye without plans, by Lewis 'Buffalow' Emery in 1894, was powered by a crew of up to 23 - with 16 of them manning the oars.

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It served until 1935 and saved 202 lives. The most famous rescue, which made national headlines, was to pluck eight men from the Norwegian brig the Ispolen as it broke up close to shore in a raging storm in 1897.

It takes its name from the Upcher family of Sheringham hall who provided the privately-run boat to replace the town's first rescue vessel the Augusta.

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Its last ever voyage was in 1945 during celebrations for the Victory over the Japan - but she was overloaded on the pleasure trip, got into difficulties, and had to be rescued by the town's other lifeboat, operated by the RNLI, added Mr Gardiner.

The boat, which is displayed in the shed where it was built, has recently been repainted - with the help of students from Gresham's School, who will also assist with storing it over winter and getting it ready again next Easter.

The complex, which also hosts a shell art gallery, has a team of about 30 volunteers, but is always looking for more people who can spare two-hour stints to help man it. Call Mr Gardiner on 01263 825779.

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