Tyne & Wear

South Shields lifeboat blessed to celebrate restoration

Tim West, director of the North East Maritime Trust; Councillor Audrey McMillan, from South Tyneside Council; Rev Philip Bullock from St Stephen's Church
Image caption Local dignitaries and a vicar took part in the ceremony

A blessing ceremony has been held to celebrate the renovation of a historic lifeboat on South Tyneside.

The Grade II listed vessel, known as the Tyne, was built in South Shields in 1833 and is thought to be one of the oldest lifeboats in the world.

It was placed on public display on the seafront in 1894 and removed last year. A team of 30 volunteers restored it to its former glory.

Local dignitaries and a vicar took part in the ceremony marking its return.

Reverend Philip Bullock, from the Church of St Stephen, said: "I've given many blessings during weddings and baptisms but blessing a boat is a personal first."

Image caption The lifeboat was removed for restoration in August

The Tyne is said to have helped save more than 1,000 lives during its 60 years of service.

Volunteers from the North East Maritime Trust spent four months on the project, which also included the restoration of the Grade II listed canopy.

Tim West, from the trust, said: "The trust is proud that the results of our skills and hard work will be on show for generations to come."

Councillor Audrey McMillan, vice chair of the foreshore steering group for South Tyneside Council, described it as an "iconic vessel".

"I'm pleased to see the lifeboat is now back where it belongs amongst the people of South Shields," she said.

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