Gallery: RNLI's royal visit
PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 May 2014
A MEMBER of the royal family visited Weston RNLI last week and presented two of its long-standing volunteers with badges for their service.
Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent visited the town last Thursday and spent time at the RNLI’s temporary lifeboat station beside Marine Lake.
The visit was part of a day-long trip to Somerset, after it was suggested he included Weston in a South West trip because of the difficult circumstances the crews are working in.
The RNLI was forced to leave its base on Birnbeck Pier in November last year after more than a century, and is now operating out of a temporary facility near Knightstone harbour.
This is likely to continue for the duration of Weston RNLI’s £300,000 fundraising appeal for a new base in the town.
The Duke, who is RNLI president, met retiring lifeboat operations manager Pete Holder and his replacement Charlotte Conroy as well as other town dignitaries.
He was shown inside the temporary station where he was able to view pictures of Birnbeck Pier.
Mr Holder accompanied the royal party to the Prince Consort Gardens where he was then able to look at Birnbeck.
He was driven to a reception at the Winter Gardens where he met lifeboat crew members and fundraisers.
He presented a long-service award to Mr Holder and Richard Spindler, for 40 years and 50 years with the RNLI respectively.
The Duke was given a photograph of the station’s D Class and Atlantic 75 lifeboats signed by the crew, and he signed the visitors’ book.
RNLI chairman Charles Hunter-Pease confirmed building a new lifeboat station in Weston is a priority for the charity and thanked the volunteers for their help and determination.
For more pictures and video footage of the Duke’s visit, log onto www.westonmercury.co.uk