WATCH: John’s generosity will help Hartlepool RNLI save lives

The crew and other volunteers at Hartlepool RNLI celebrated the arrival of their new lifeboat in style with a formal naming ceremony.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat came into service in March and was funded by a gift left in the will of Second World War veteran John Masters, from Birmingham, who took part in the D-Day Landings.

He asked for the lifeboat to be named Solihull, after the place he met his wife Barbara and spent much of his life.

About 100 volunteers and supporters of the charity were joined by members of the public at Hartlepool Marina for the naming ceremony, which included a service of dedication led by Reverend Chris Collison.

The lifeboat was officially named by the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon.

Hartlepool RNLI lifeboat operations manager Mike Craddy said the ceremony was a chance for everyone connected to the charity to formally acknowledge the generosity of Mr Masters.

I’m sure he would have been delighted to know his gift has already saved one life off the Hartlepool coast

Mike Craddy

He said: “I’ve been involved with the RNLI for many years, but it still astounds me that the lifeboats, equipment and training our crews need to help them save lives are all provided by donations and legacies from generous people like Mr Masters.

“None of us had met Mr Masters and we don’t know if he ever visited a lifeboat station, but he was clearly full of admiration for our charity.

“I’m sure he would have been delighted to know his gift has already saved one life off the Hartlepool coast and will help us save many more in the years to come. There can’t be any better legacy than that.”

The 35 knot Atlantic 85 is 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 Lord Lieutenant named the lifeboat Solihull by pouring Champagne over the bow of the vessel.