Norfolk

Dunkirk evacuation: Lucy Lavers lifeboat restored ahead of 75th anniversary

Lucy Lavers Image copyright Rescue Wooden Boats
Image caption Rescue Wooden Boats said Lucy Lavers' "very first trip" as a newly-built lifeboat was to Dunkirk

A lifeboat that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation in World War Two has been restored "after years of neglect".

The Liverpool-type lifeboat Lucy Lavers was used to rescue troops from the beaches of northern France in 1940, charity Rescue Wooden Boats said.

The former Norfolk and Suffolk boat was given a £100,000 restoration, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and donors.

The boat will visit Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent ports in May, ahead of the 75th anniversary of Dunkirk.

Wendy Pritchard, a trustee of Rescue Wooden Boats, said the restoration was "a testament to the talents of the boatbuilders and craftsmen who have worked on her".

Image copyright Rhyl RNLI lifeboat station
Image caption Lucy Lavers was part of the relief lifeboat fleet on the east coast and in Wales between 1959 and 1968

The yacht-like lifeboat has an engine and sails and was commissioned in 1940 for Aldeburgh lifeboat station in Suffolk.

It was among a flotilla of little ships that helped the Royal Navy evacuate more than 300,000 British and Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk between 27 May and 4 June 1940.

The Lucy Lavers served as a Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) lifeboat at Aldeburgh for 19 years where she was called out 30 times.

Image copyright Rescue Wooden Boats
Image caption The vessel had been stripped out before Rescue Wooden Boats began its restoration work
Image copyright Rescue Wooden Boats
Image caption The 35ft 6in (10.8m)-long boat was restored at Hewitts' Boatyard in north Norfolk

After the Lucy Lavers was retired from the RNLI in 1968, it was used as a pilot boat and by a dive club in the Channel Islands.

Ms Pritchard said: "In 1997 she was retired and largely stripped for the restoration of another lifeboat."

Image copyright Rescue Wooden Boats
Image caption The lifeboat will join over 60 other "little ships" at Dunkirk on 20 May to mark the 75th anniversary

The Dunkirk Little Ship Restoration Trust donated the lifeboat to Rescue Wooden Boats, a maritime heritage charity in Stiffkey, Norfolk. The Lucy Lavers restoration was the charity's first project.

In May, the lifeboat will travel from its base at Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk to Lowestoft, Southwold and Aldeburgh in Suffolk, on to Harwich in Essex and Ramsgate in Kent before crossing the Channel to take part in the 75th anniversary celebrations of the evacuation of Dunkirk.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites