Man’s dying wish leads to new lifeboat for Hartlepool RNLI

OPEN WAVES: Hartlepool's new Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat
OPEN WAVES: Hartlepool's new Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat

A LIFE-SAVING service has been given a £214,000 boost through a new hi-tech lifeboat.

The £214,000 Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat has been funded by a gift left in the will of John Masters and will be named Solihull after the place where he met his wife Barbara and spent much of his life.

Thanks to his legacy, the RNLI has been able to provide the volunteer crew at Hartlepool with a 35 knot Atlantic 85 – the fastest sea-going RNLI lifeboat and the first RNLI inshore lifeboat to have radar, which means it can operate more effectively in reduced visibility.

It is also bigger than its predecessor, with room for a fourth crew member as well as more space for casualties.

The lifeboat replaces the station’s Atlantic 75 lifeboat BBC Radio Cleveland, which was provided for the charity in 2000 following an appeal by the radio station which raised £75,000. The lifeboat was used on 395 rescues, saving 376 people.

She will be launched for the last time on Saturday and escorted away from the lifeboat station by both her replacement and Hartlepool’s all-weather lifeboat, Betty Huntbatch. She will be transported by road to RNLI HQ in Dorset and will enter the charity’s relief fleet, covering at stations when their own lifeboat is being serviced or repaired.

Mike Craddy, Hartlepool RNLI Lifeboat operations manager, said the volunteer crew will be sad to say goodbye to BBC Radio Cleveland, adding: “She has served us extremely well for 15 years and has been well loved by the crew. However, our new lifeboat will give us the advantage of more speed, room for an additional crew member and the benefit of radar, so she will improve our life saving capability.

“We are extremely grateful to the late Mr Masters for his generous gift. As a charity, we depend on donations and we simply wouldn’t be able to carry on saving lives at sea without the continued support of the public and the kindness of people like Mr Masters who decide to leave legacies to the RNLI.”

Mr Masters was born in Loughborough in 1918 but as a child moved with his family to Birmingham. When he left school, he started work with the NatWest Bank and, apart from his time in the Navy during the war, stayed with the bank until retirement.

During World War Two, Mr Masters rose to the rank of Lieutenant, and took part in the D-Day landings.

As a charity, we depend on donations and we simply wouldn’t be able to carry on saving lives at sea without the continued support of the public and the kindness of people like Mr Masters who decide to leave legacies to the RNLI.

He worked in Solihull for many years before moving to Peterborough, where he and his wife lived for the rest of their lives. He died in 2011 at the age of 93.

Mr Masters always loved the sea, enjoyed leisure boating and owned a cabin cruiser which he sailed on rivers and inland waters.