Donations needed so old Aldeburgh lifeboat, Lucy Lavers, can make trip back to Dunkirk

Lucy Lavers being recovered after service at Rhyl. Photo of Lucy Lavers, with fluttering pennants, b

Lucy Lavers being recovered after service at Rhyl. Photo of Lucy Lavers, with fluttering pennants, being winched ashore, surrounded by crew - Credit: Archant

In little more than two months an old Aldeburgh lifeboat, the Lucy Lavers, is set to be back in Dunkirk for a very important anniversary.

Lucy Lavers' route from Wells to Dunkirk and back

Lucy Lavers' route from Wells to Dunkirk and back - Credit: Archant

Between May 22 and May 24 the vessel will once again be in northern France to mark 75 years since the evacuation of Dunkirk during the Second World War.

The Lucy Lavers had just started service as the coastal town’s second lifeboat, in 1940, when she was commandeered by the Royal Navy.

She was one of hundreds of boats which answered the call to save around 340,000 stranded Allied soldiers.

The charity Rescue Wooden Boats was awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant grant of more than £100,000 in 2013 to restore the 35ft 6ins long boat.

James Cable (L to R) Chris Henson, Wendy Pritchard, Steve Saint, Dan Harvey and Mark Cable at the ta

James Cable (L to R) Chris Henson, Wendy Pritchard, Steve Saint, Dan Harvey and Mark Cable at the talk in the Aldeburgh Community Centre about the town's former lifeboat Lucy Lavers.


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Now, work is well under way to raise £20,000 to fund her journey from The Quay at Wells-next-the-Sea, in Norfolk, down the Suffolk and Essex coast and back to Dunkirk.

Wendy Pritchard is a trustee from the charity.

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Talking about the £100,000 grant, she said: “It’s a lot money, it’s an expensive business.

“They did not skimp on the materials for the lifeboat as they needed to be resilient.

“We need a bit more help, we are just over a third of the way there for getting to France, but she’s got to get back as well. We will be recording the trip for our archive and website. We are also filming a DVD of the Lucy Lavers story.”

So far, £10,000, has been raised, which would get the boat to Harwich. There is a long list of items needed for the trip (as well as fuel) which need to be funded, including flares, life jackets, sea sickness pills and radar. Lucy Lavers will be stopping off on her voyage to Dunkirk. She is set to be at The Quay, Wells-next-the-Sea, from April 12 to May 1; Heritage Quay, Lowestoft, from May 8 to May 10; Aldeburgh beach, from noon on May 11; Aldeburgh Yacht Club, from May 12 to May 13; Suffolk Yacht Harbour, from May 14 to May 15 and Harwich Lifeboat Station, from May 15 to May 16.

The dates may vary depending on weather conditions. Visitors can board her and find out more about her story.

There are limited places still available for different legs of the journey. Some places have been sold on eBay. The Lucy Lavers’ capacity is 14.

Around 60 other boats will also be making the trip in May for the event organised by the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships.

Talks are being held about the project at Lowestoft Library on March 23 at 2.30pm and The Harbour Room, at Levington, at 5.30pm on March 24.

For more information about the project go to www.rescuewoodenboats.com or email info@rescuewoodenboats.com.

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