Anniversary for lifeboat station

Newbiggin RNLI celebrates its 160th anniversary.
Newbiggin RNLI celebrates its 160th anniversary.

A LIFE-SAVING organisation has celebrated a major milestone in its proud history.

Volunteers and supporters gathered on Sunday to mark the 160 years since the first foundation stone of Newbiggin RNLI’s boat house was laid.

At the time the Duke of Northumberland provided much of the vision and funding for the station.

The need for it had been reinforced after a fishing disaster earlier that year, in March 1851, when a storm claimed the lives of ten fishermen from the village.

The death toll would have been greater but for the efforts of five fishermen who braved the storm in a coble, risking their own lives to help.

Their efforts were rewarded by RNLI bravery medals presented by the Duke, as the first of many awards to be presented to Newbiggin’s volunteers.

The village’s rich maritime history is now celebrated in the displays within the new Maritime Centre at Newbiggin’s Church Point.

They are complemented by a special film, commissioned for the centre to commemorate the local RNLI lifeboat service history.

Newbiggin is now operating its 12th lifeboat, a modern Atlantic 75 class vessel named CSMA 75th Anniversary, a lifeboat that still uses the original boathouse – the oldest operational one used by the RNLI.