After recently serving with the Blyth Volunteer Lifeboat organisation, the former RNLI St Peter Port, Geurnsey Lifeboat – 52′ Arun Class, Sir William Arnold is undergoing restoration in Amble, Northumberland, before taking up a planned new London based educational role in early 2020.
The 1973 built ON1025 served at St. Peter Port from 1973 – 1997 before being sold out of RNLI service in 1998. She won her crews many gallantry medals during her service in the Channel Islands, probably the most famous being the Bonita shout in December 1981.
After being sold out of RNLI service she was renamed respectively; “Our Lady”, “Theocrat” and “Samuel J”, now pleasingly she has reverted to her original RNLI name. She was in effect the second prototype Arun Class Lifeboat following on from the 1971 built 52-01 “Arun”, also featuring a double diagonal mahogany hull and aluminium superstructure but of a design unique to 52-02. Later Arun Class Lifeboats followed the basic superstructure design of 52-03 up until the final 1990 built Arun Class Lifeboat 52-46, ON1160 “Duke of Atholl”, all GRP hulled after the initial three wooden and one Corten steel hulled boats.
Once completed the new owners plan to use her as an innovative floating education and experience centre based in London’s St Katharine Docks. She will host RYA shore based training courses and team building events, with additional opportunities for visits, tours and talks.
New owner Colin Trowles plans to sail her down the east coast of England from Amble to London in late December 2019 / early January 2020, stopping off at various lifeboat stations on the way.
Colin said; “We want to use this opportunity to raise money for the RNLI on the way and we’re looking for potential sponsorship for the many sea miles we’ll be covering. We will be stopping off at numerous lifeboat stations on the way, giving people the chance to come and have a look at her (subject to accessibility). Our progress can be followed via our website (currently under construction ) Twitter; Lifeboat 52-02 @GuernseyHero, instagram and very soon our own Facebook page.”