Restoration of 133-year-old South Shields lifeboat begins

image copyrightPort Of Tyne
image captionThe Bedford has been moved from storage to a boat yard for restoration work to begin

Restoration has begun on a 133-year-old boat which saved 50 lives.

The Bedford was originally stationed in South Shields but left the town for a museum in Devon in 1968.

Now the 33ft (10m) long boat is set to undergo a two-year restoration at the North East Maritime Trust's boat yard in South Shields.

The trust said the Bedford, which was launched more than 55 times during its time in service, is an important part of local maritime history.

It has been in storage since being bought by a group of local businesses including the Port of Tyne, Barbour Foundation, JML, M I Dickson, South Tyneside Council, Ward Hadaway and Tyne Lifeboat Society.

The Bedford was built in 1886 by Lancelot Lambert at the Lawe Building Yard.

It was paid for by Miss Bedford, who bequeathed £1,000 to the Lifeboat Society Trustees for a lifeboat to be named in memory of her brother Benjamin, who was an engineer with the Tyne Improvement Commission, predecessors of the Port of Tyne.

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