Walton and Frinton: A warm welcome for town’s �2.7m lifeboat

A NEW �2.7million lifeboat made a triumphant arrival into Essex yesterday as hundreds turned out to welcome it.

They packed on to the pier at Walton-on-the-Naze to watch as the state-of-the-art boat made its maiden voyage into the town’s marina.

The boat, which is Walton and Frinton Lifeboat Station’s first new vessel since 1954, is named after the benefactor who helped buy it.

Irene Muriel Rees, who lived at a seaside property in Cliff Way, Frinton, before her death last year, donated about �2m for the new boat.

Philip Oxley, the lifeboat station’s operations manager, said: “We know that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) meant a great deal to Irene because she spent a lot of her time looking out over the lifeboat from her house.


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“She was a very quiet lady and unmarried, she had family in London, but she used to come to Walton on the Naze for holidays.”

The new lifeboat, which is about 52ft long, will not be pushed into immediate service. It will be kept at Titchmarsh Marina while crew members complete their training.

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Mr Oxley, a builder and funeral director in the town, said: “It’s a big day for the people of Walton on the Naze and an even bigger one for the station.

“Our last lifeboat – the Kenneth Thelwall II – has been with us for 17 years, but is actually over 20 years old and so to be given a new lifeboat is a major event.”

The Tamar-class lifeboat is capable of speeds of up to 25 knots, compared to its predecessor, which could do about 17. The new vessel also has a Y-class rubber boat onboard, which can be used to access areas the lifeboat would be unable to get to, such as sandbanks.

The RNLI used about �700,000 from its own coffers to buy the vessel.

chris.harris@eadt.co.uk

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