Eastbourne mayor reopens refurbished lifeboat museum

Dan Guy, mechanic at Eastbourne lifeboat station; Colin McKee, chairman of Eastbourne Lifeboat Station; Paul Bossier, chief executive of the RNLI; Coxswain Mark Sawyer and Paul Metcalfe, Eastbourne Lifeboat operations manager with mayor Councillor Carolyn Heaps in front.

Dan Guy, mechanic at Eastbourne lifeboat station; Colin McKee, chairman of Eastbourne Lifeboat Station; Paul Bossier, chief executive of the RNLI; Coxswain Mark Sawyer and Paul Metcalfe, Eastbourne Lifeboat operations manager with mayor Councillor Carolyn Heaps in front.

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EASTBOURNE mayor Carolyn Heaps cut the ribbon to officially reopen the refurbished RNLI Lifeboat Museum.

The William Terriss Memorial Boathouse was first opened in 1898 as a tribute to the famous actor who was murdered outside the Adelphi Theatre in London two years earlier.

The building housed operational lifeboats until 1924 and then housed a display lifeboat, the James Stevens No 6, until 1936 when the boat was sold.

The building then became the first ever RNLI Museum and will soon celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Having undergone many facelifts and refurbishments over its long history, including the addition of a shop selling a wide variety of RNLI souvenirs and clothing, the latest has sought to preserve the original character of the building.

RNLI chief executive Paul Boissier praised the dedication and commitment of the volunteers who have worked hard to ensure the building has become one of the most successful in the country.

He added, “It’s a real pleasure and huge privilege to come to the reopening of the museum and shop.

“People here today have put an enormous amount of work in.

“Thank you to the people of Eastbourne for the support you’ve given the lifeboat here in your town.

“Your support and generosity for the lifeboat makes a huge difference for a lot of people whose lives are at risk out on the water.”

He also took the opportunity of presenting a special certificate of thanks to volunteer Hettie Pittendriech who has been a shop helper for many decades.

Councillor Heaps thanked the volunteers and everyone involved for their support and said, “I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted to be here today.

“This is just gorgeous and I like the fact you’ve kept the historical aspect so prominently.

“Hats off to the guys at the RNLI for all they do to make the sea safe.”