Welcome to Caister Lifeboat
A ROYAL STANDARD FLIES OVER THE BOATSHED ONCE AGAIN.
By Derek George
Preparations for the visit have been in hand for some time and the name of the boat kept a closely guarded secret. Over 180 invitations were sent out to local dignitaries, supporters and members.
The lifeboat team were particularly pleased to welcome representatives from the RNLI stations at Wells, Sheringham, Cromer, Happisburgh, Great Yarmouth/Gorleston and Lowestoft together with representatives from the independent lifeboat stations at Mundesly, Sea Palling, and Hemsby. Although the Yarmouth Coastguard Station is now closed it was well represented together with members of the National Coastwatch Institution who are now resident in the old lookout at the Caister Lifeboat station.
Her Royal Highness shook hands and spoke to everybody in the line-up plus the Senior and Junior crews. The Dean of Norwich Cathedral led the dedication service assisted by the Rector, Tim Thompson and the Methodist minister Rev Fielding. Several local clergy were among the guests.
The new inshore lifeboat ‘Fred Dyble’ is heavier and longer than her predecessors and requires a more powerful tractor and a new launching trailer. The 90 horse power tractor was delivered just a couple of days before the ceremony. The new launching trailer allows the lifeboat engine to run whilst on the carriage which in turn allows the lifeboat to be powered out of the launching carriage without any body having to get into the water to release her as was the case with the previous boats. This feature has reduced launching by several minutes.
The complete package lifeboat, carriage and tractor cost some £90,000 which was met in the main from the legacy of Mrs Crowther of Scratby. The keys to the lifeboat were presented to Alex Low, the helmsman of the inshore lifeboat by Mr and Mrs Oliver who were representing Mrs Crowther. It was Mrs Crowther’s wish that a Caister Lifeboat should be named ‘Fred Dyble’
From time to time the station receives legacies and donations with a specific expression of wish. One such legacy was that of Mrs Hillyer of Fairway, Caister whose wish was for her legacy to be spent on the all-weather lifeboat. The team used the legacy to have a state of the art plotting table fitted to the all-weather boat whilst it was in for half-life refit. Similarly Messrs Vesta wished to make a donation and this resulted in a superb pair of binoculars being presented to the coxswain Paul Williams.
Although the sun shone on the day the North-East wind was distinctly chilly and took the shine off the day (forgive the pun) but hopefully the superb traditional afternoon tea that followed made up for the discomfort.
The station is again staging a beer festival on the weekend 14th -16th June and the now annual Iceni/Caister schools concert on 7th July whilst the annual fete, as always, is planned for the first Sunday in August; namely the 4th August; for further details contact 01493 722001, please leave a message if unmanned at the time of your call.
Can 2013 be better than 2012 asks Secretary Derek George?
What a year! It began with two pieces of news;
Firstly that coxswain Paul Williams, his son Tommy and crewman Andy Hewitt were to be honoured by an award from the Royal Humane Society for their efforts in saving a life resulting from collapsing sand on Caister Beach;
Secondly the Crew of the all weather lifeboat (ALB) Bernard Matthews ll were invited to be part of the Thames River Pageant to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
This news was quickly followed by invitations to my wife and I together with second coxswain Tommy Williams and his partner to attend the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Our Chairman Paul Garrod and his wife were invited to attend the Queen’s Garden Party for Norfolk people at Sandringham.
You would think there couldn’t be any better start to any year ~ but wrong. A few of us were told (in secret) the station had been recommended to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the equivalent of a Voluntary Service MBE.
The Royal Humane Society presentation took place in the Town Hall in May and soon after work began to complete the mountain of forms and paperwork to provide information to the organisers of the Jubilee Pageant. There were so many details and guides to read and understand to enable the Coxwain and crew to be fully briefed about tides, bridge heights and clearances as well as all the security arrangements for the Thames Jubilee Pageant on June 3rd..
As the Jubilee plans were being finalised and the crew fully briefed with their sailing plans we ere informed that the recommendation for the Queen’s award had been successful and would be made public on Saturday June 2nd, the day before the Jubilee itself ~ Wow!
The Buckinham Palace Garden party was a lifetime memory; the weather was beautiful and the atmosphere electric; every body ‘squeezed’ (I use the word literally) into their finest, the food ,which was exactly as you imagine it to be, supplemented with chilled lemonade and ice cream on the lawn .......... the ‘icing on the cake’.
At the Sandringham Garden Party Chairman Paul Garrod and his wife were introduced to HM The Queen.
Only a minimum crew took the ALB to London along the coast line and the rest of us travelled by coach leaving at the crack of dawn on the day of Jubilee. We set up our Face-book page and we were able to post messages and pictures about our trip as and when thngs happened.
We had been successful in obtaining tickets for members of our families to enter the Battersea Park Jubilee Fair and view the flotilla so they came down to London with the rest of the crew who would take part in the pageant with us and fortunately ....... they got front row positions.
Despite the weather it was an unforgettable occasion. There were people every where; I can truthfully say there was not a square foot of flat space that somebody was not standing on. What with the forthcoming Olympics and Para-Olympic games the Jubilee organisers did a fantastic job. It is impossible to describe or explain the wonderful atmosphere of ‘de bonne humeur’; you could only understand it by being there too (despite the atrocious weather); and we were now MBE, holders of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The return passage of the ALB from London was memorable too but not for the right reasons; it was rough! It took three an half hours to reach our moorings in London..... over eight hours, fighting the headwind and heavy swell,to get back.
With our feet now back on the ground all hands to pumps, literally speaking, as the second annual Beer Festival got under way. This year the Festival featured over 30 real ales and ciders and was well attended.
The concert ‘Songs by the Sea’ in the Skipper Woodhouse boat house was once again a sell out with over 400 people attending. The concert featured the return of the Iceni choir and choirs from Caister Infant and Junior schools, It was deemed such a huge success once again that tentative arrangements have already been made to stage a third event in June/July 2013. The finale item, the joint choirs rendering of the Jubilee song ‘Sing’ brought tears to many a face in the audience.
The annual fete in August, the main fund raising event of the year, drew better than expected crowds resulting in a favourable outcome bearing in mind the present austerity throughout the country.
The new inshore lifeboat (ILB) took station late summer and the training required to launch and recover the boat safely, even in extreme conditions, began. The boat, a 5m Ribcraft, bigger and faster than its predecessor, came with a new purpose designed carriage which enables launching times to be reduced......... however recovery was not so easy to begin with and slight alterations to boat, carriage and procedures have now cured the problems. It is hoped the date for the naming ceremony for the new ILB will be announced soon.
The ALB left station mid October for a half life refit; A full dismantle and service of the engines and jets;a repaint ans equipment service, it is a major expense but will provide a further eight or so years service. The work was expected to be completed by Christmas but is running a little late and is now forecast that the boat will be back in service later this month. The work has been carried out by local boatyard Goodchild Marine using local sub-contractors for the specialist equipments.
Finally the ‘Celebration of Christmas’ event in the boat house, again featuring the choirs from Caister Junior and Infant schools plus the lady singers of ‘Prelude’ accompanied by the Stalham Brass Band sang to a full house whilst the children told the Christmas Story in their own words.
Our Volunteers have helped and informed numerous visitors enjoy our our Heritage Centre and they have been available to sell Lifeboat gifts and souveniers from our shop.
Our Young crew thanks for all your help in fundraising
What a year!
Thanks everyone for your support!
Why not keep in touch by logging onto our Facebook page introduced to provide you with information and photographs so you know what we are doing and when.
Please visit our Jubilee section to revisit our London Pageant Experience with a special item written by Derek George, our Secretary, who was there on the day.
Both our sheds open every Wednesday and Sunday between 10 am and 3 pm also open on Bank Holidays.
Our new Inshore Lifeboat is on station and responding to calls for assistance.
All the crew who will use the boat, plus members of the Young Crew, have received their first onshore and offshore training.
See our boats section for more details of our new Inshore boat, recently named the Fred Dyble by HRH Princess Anne.
Our Junior Crew are very special to us and as recognition of their efforts during training and support of our fundraising the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk presented them on our behalf with Certificates of Commendation.
See our other photo's from the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames on the special site
Three Crew Members were presented with their Royal Humane Society Medals by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk at Great Yarmouth Town Hall on Monday 30th April 2012 at 5 pm. The Assisting Medic received a Certificate from the CVLS. Members of the Young Crew also received certificates in recognition of their work on behalf of the CVLS
Picture by Director Mike Randall
All your donations and good wishes of support are most appreciated and because we are all volunteers all financial help goes to ensuring the lifeboats and crew are trained, available and ready to respond.
2013 is planned to be an extremely busy year for the service. With the purchase and deployment of our new Inshore Ribcraft and trailer to facilitate faster launches we have lots of training to do to keep us efficient.
The full mid life Service for the Offshore Bernard Matthews 2 is almost complete and a stainless steel replacement cabin for our main launch catterpillar tractor has been fitted.We have taken the opportunity to replace the fenders on our main trailer. Masses of thanks to MDF Transport.
Plans to develop a new extension to the Skipper Woodhouse Lifeboat shed to house the new inshore Rib Craft have been sent to the Planning Authority
Without your help we could not continue to be ready to support those in distress and to save lives. This is why a very grateful and special "Thank you" message is sent to all our sponsors and Supporters
We do our very best to acknowledge and respond to all donations and enquiries so please remember to always send us your details, or the address of the Organisation you represent.
If you haven't heard from us within 28 days please give us a call. We will NEVER intentionally ignore any communication but sometimes, even with our best endevours, things can go astray.
Where it all began.
Our history dates back to the Caister Beach Company in 1794 and the volunteers of the Caister Lifeboat Service can claim with pride that they are an important part of the history of Caister On Sea and the proud heritage of Norfolk.
Since 1969 the Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service has been operated independently from the RNLI, as a Registered Charity, and today Volunteers crew both an offshore and inshore lifeboat.
At 37 knots the Offshore Lifeboat, 'Bernard Matthews II', named after the very famous Norfolk turkey farmer, is a Dutch valentijn class vessel. It is the fastest all weather lifeboat in the British Isles. Along with the inshore vessel, Jim Davidson, O.B.E, named after the international comedian they both provide an essential part of the lifeboat service on this deceivingly treacherous coast.
We welcome you to our Visitor Centre which explains in pictures and words the story of the Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service from way back in the days of the Famous Norfolk Coast Beach Companys. Look down into our first motorised Lifeboat ,the Shirley Jean Ayde and read of the exploits of crews past and present
If you have a story or any information about the Caister Life boats that you want to share please contact us
The crew assembled for their annual photograph
For details of all our boats and the rescues that tell the history of the station please click on the archive icon at the end of the history page