A new inshore lifeboat for Wicklow RNLI is to be officially named Dennis-Audrey during a ceremony at the lifeboat station at 4pm this Saturday 6 May.
The lifeboat which went on service in February this year was funded by Gladys Audrey Deakin who left her residuary estate to the RNLI for the funding of a lifeboat.
Audrey and her late husband Dennis loved holidays by the sea and were impressed by the work of the RNLI. It was their dream that their bequest be used to fund a lifeboat and that it would be named after them.
The donor will be represented by Audrey’s solicitor Michelle Gavin at the naming ceremony and service of dedication and she will officially hand the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI.
The honour of naming the lifeboat will go to Phylis Whyte, a former chair of the Wicklow RNLI fundraising branch.
Last year, Wicklow RNLI which also has an all-weather lifeboat launched 36 times and rescued 36 people. The all-weather Tyne class lifeboat Annie Blaker launched 21 times bringing 26 people to safety while the inshore lifeboat launched 15 times bringing 10 people to safety.
The new inshore lifeboat is replacing the Sheringham Shantymen, which was on service for 10 years at Wicklow RNLI. The lifeboat which was named after the Sheringham Shantymen was funded by money raised at their concerts. During its time in Wicklow, the lifeboat rescued 96 people, seven dogs and a farmer’s sheep.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s naming ceremony, Des Davitt, Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The naming ceremony and service of dedication is a special occasion for our lifeboat station and we are grateful to Audrey and Dennis who generously funded our new lifeboat.’
First introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1963, the design of the inflatable D class lifeboat continues to evolve to meet changes in demand and technology.
It is the workhorse of the RNLI’s fleet and is ideal for working close inshore, near rocks or in shallow water in moderate conditions. It can be righted by the crew if it capsizes and is also part of the RNLI Flood Rescue Teams fleet of boats.
A highly manoeuvrable lifeboat, the D class can operate closer to shore than Wicklow’s all-weather lifeboat and comes into her own for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations - often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves.
A lifeboat station was established in Wicklow in 1857. The first lifeboat was a 30ft rowing boat.
In 1911 the boathouse was adapted and the station’s first motor lifeboat, the first for Ireland, arrived.
In 1989, the boathouse was adapted once again and the slipway extended for the station's new Tyne class lifeboat. The adaptation to the boathouse included improved crew facilities and additional extensions for the refurbished winch and a souvenir sales outlet. The slipway was extended by 24 metres.
A D class lifeboat first went on service in Wicklow in 1995 with a new boathouse extension for housing the lifeboat completed in 1997.
The RNLI is a charity which relies on voluntary contributions and legacies.