Unveiling of restored lifeboat

An historic lifeboat, restored over the past year by a team of enthusiasts in Hastings, is to be moved to its permanent new resting place later this month.

The Priscilla MacBean was bought by Old Town resident Deeday White and Tush Hamilton after being found rotting in a field near Eastbourne, and has been lovingly restored on Hastings beach by the pair and an army of volunteers over the past year.

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It was Eastbourne’s first ever motor lifeboat in the 1920s, and was sister boat to the Mary Stanford, the Rye lifeboat which was tragically lost with all hands on November 15, 1928. Seventeen crew memberss died.

Exactly 86 years on to the day, on Saturday, November 15, the restored Priscilla MacBean will be hauled from the Stade Open Space, near Hastings lifeboat station, to its new final resting place, a specially prepared site on Hastings Borough Council land at the entrance to Old Town.

Members of lifeboat crews from Hastings, Eastbourne and Rye will be in attendance, as will other emergency services.

At 9am the story of the Priscilla MacBean and the Mary Stanford will be told, followed by a blessing of the boat and a short service of remembrance in respect of the Mary Stanford.

The event is expected to be completed by 11am when the lifeboat will be craned into her new dry dock at the bottom of Old London Road.

The Priscilla MacBean was originally built for service at Eastbourne. It was the first beach-landed lifeboat designed for motor and sail and oars. In 1928 the vessel was moved to Kirkcudbright in Scotland to cover the area of the Solway Firth.

A few years later she was moved to Maryport in Cumbria before ending its RNLI service in 1934.