Teddington RNLI Lifeboat station welcomed 175 people today to celebrate the naming of their new D Class Lifeboat, the Alderman Penny Shelton.
The boat was donated by Hilary Saw in memory of her sister who died in 2021. Two other D Class lifeboats, the Olwen and Tom and the Peter Saw, named after family members, were also generously donated by Hilary in the past.
The D Class inflatable lifeboat is a highly manoeuvrable lifeboat which usually operates closer to shore than our all-weather lifeboats. It is especially valuable when used in searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations. As a result, it is ideally suited to help those in need on the River Thames.
The ceremony was opened with the presentation of the boat to Matt Allchurch, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Teddington as well as members of the volunteer crew. In line with boating tradition, local singers from the Landmark Arts Centre’s community choirs came together to sing the hymn, Pull for The Shore and sea shanty, Harbour. Both of these were specially requested by Hilary and her family.
The boat was welcomed with speeches by outgoing chair Tim Ody and incoming chair Paul Corbin.
The boat was blessed and led by Lifeboat Station Chaplain, Rev. Chris Kennedy. It was then ‘wetted’ with champagne and launched by close Saw family friends, Guy & Julian.
The out-going boat, Olwen and Tom is retiring after 12 years, attending 487 incidents. It is credited with assisting 83 people and saving nine lives. It will now be converted to an electric D Class – before being returned to Teddington for trials. Teddington will be the first station to test an electric lifeboat (also donated by Hilary Saw).
Kingston Mayor, Councillor Diane White and Richmond Mayor Councillor Suzette Nicholson attended the ceremony as well as local.
- Teddington RNLI lifeboat station is one of four on the River Thames and is crewed and run by over 30 volunteers.
- In 2022 crew attended 105 calls and was attributed with saving four lives.
- One of the existing boats will be ‘retired’ to become a tender to sea-based lifeboats.
- If you are interested in volunteering with the RNLI, visit https://rnli.org/support-us/volunteer/how-you-can-volunteer