Lifeboat crew, station management, fundraisers and supporters of Howth RNLI were joined by members of the public yesterday (Sunday 2 October) to officially name the North Dublin lifeboat station’s newest lifeboat Aideen Cresswell, in memory of the incredible woman who funded it. The ceremony took place in the sunshine in Howth Harbour where the public saw up-close Howth RNLI’s newest lifeboat as it was officially named by Mrs Cresswell’s nephew Seymour, in the maritime tradition by pouring champagne over its bow.
As Afloat.ie previously reported, Mrs Aideen Cresswell (nee Stokes) whose generous bequest funded the €71,000 lifeboat was born in London in 1921 and later came to live in The Baily, Howth. At a young age she met her husband John Cresswell at an RNLI ball and they spent their honeymoon on board a yacht sailing from Dublin to Dunmore East. Mrs Cresswell’s nephew Seymour remembered his aunt during his speech, whom he described as ‘a rebel; feisty and a free spirit’. He spoke of her lifelong support of the RNLI and her affinity for the sea. She passed away in 2011after a short illness in her ninety-first year and was married to John for sixty-seven years.
RNLI Vice-President and member of the Irish Council Mr. Peter Killen accepted the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI before passing it on to Howth lifeboat station. The ceremony was opened by Howth RNLI Chairman Russell Rafter and the Vote of Thanks was given by Mrs Rose Michael in her role as Chairperson of the Fundraising branch. Rose also presented Mrs Cresswell’s two nephews with framed photographs of the new lifeboat which were signed by the crew.
On accepting the lifeboat into the care of Howth RNLI, Colm Newport, the station’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘I accept with great pride this lifeboat Aideen Cresswell to Howth Lifeboat Station. Aideen’s legacy provides the lifeboat that will be of service to all who earn their living or derive pleasure from the sea and coastline in our area. Since we received our new lifeboat this summer she has been called out on service nine times.’
Following the ceremony the new lifeboat was launched into Howth Harbour to the accompaniment of a lone piper. Howth lifeboat station was established before 1825 and taken over by the RNLI in 1862. During its tenure Howth’ s volunteer lifeboat crew have been awarded eleven medals for Gallantry: seven silver and four bronze. The station also operates an all-weather Trent class lifeboat.
The inshore lifeboat remains the workhorse of the RNLI as it has for nearly 50 years. The inflatable rescue craft is highly manoeuvrable and specifically suited to surf, shallow water and confined locations – often working close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves.
The equipment on board the new lifeboat includes a VHF radio, night-vision technology, and first-aid kit including oxygen. It has a maximum speed of 25 knots and can carry three crew members and five survivors.
The Aideen Cresswell’s predecessor was on service at the station from 2006 to 2016. During its time at the station it was launched 260 times, rescued 288 people, saving 19 lives. It spent 167 hours on service.