The gift of a brand new inshore lifeboat named Roy Norgrove has arrived at Swanage Lifeboat Station in time for Christmas, replacing the station’s old D Class lifeboat.
Much loved and photographed, Swanage’s inshore lifeboat Phyl and Jack has been doing a sterling job since July 2012 but with a typical lifespan of 10 years, it was due for replacement.
The new inshore lifeboat Roy Norgrove (left) arrives to takeover from the old inshore lifeboat Phyl and Jack (right)
Fortunately a generous donation from the late Doreen Norgrove who lived in Winchester and died in August 2019, has made the new vessel possible.
Doreen was a long-time supporter of the RNLI, along with her husband Roy, leaving half her estate to purchase a lifeboat in memory of her late husband.
They were very involved with the Farnham RNLI branch and also well known at the RNLI in Poole, as Roy used his specialist contacts to sell items bequeathed to the RNLI like jewellery and stamps, to raise funds for the charity.
The new lifeboat D884, which was built on the Isle of Wight, arrived in Swanage Bay on Friday 8th December 2023, passed its test run and is now operational. They’ll be an opportunity in early 2024 at the lifeboat station for everyone to see the new boat close up.
The old lifeboat D752 has now gone to the RNLI’s headquarters in nearby Poole, where it will be used as a training boat, so there’s still a chance it may be spotted in the bay in the future.
The old inshore lifeboat has proved essential to saving lives along the Purbeck Coast, able to navigate closer to other boats and nearer inshore than the larger all weather lifeboat
End of an era
The arrival of a new inshore lifeboat at Swanage, marks the end of an era of inshore lifeboats funded by the late Phyl and Jack Cleare. They started their support of Swanage Lifeboat Station in April 1993 when they funded an inshore lifeboat on a trial basis.
In summer 1995 they paid for Swanage’s first station inshore lifeboat D475, this was succeeded by Jack Cleare D613 in August 2003 and Phyl and Jack D752 in July 2012.
The Cleare’s began supporting the RNLI in the 1980s and became close friends with a number of the crew at Swanage and also at Weymouth where they also funded inshore lifeboats.
Jack sadly passed away suddenly in 2000 but Phyl continued her support of the RNLI, winning the prestigious Individual Supporter of the Year award at the RNLI’s 2011 annual presentation of awards.
Phyl died in March 2012 having already made provision for the funding of Swanage’s inshore lifeboat in the same year.
The new D Class lifeboat is very similar to the old lifeboat with only a few, mainly cosmetic differences but its expected to provide an essential service for the next 10 years
“It’s great to have a new inshore lifeboat”
Swanage RNLI senior helm Darren Tomes said:
“It’s great to have a new inshore lifeboat. Virtually nothing has changed but there are some small improvements that will make the boat even better.
“We’re going to have an open day at the station in the new year to let people come and have a closer look at our new boat.”
An official naming ceremony of the new boat will be held in 2024.