New dawn for RNLI

241112  Opening of RNLI lifeboat station at south queensferry.
241112 Opening of RNLI lifeboat station at south queensferry.

THE newest lifeboat station in Scotland was officially opened in Queensferry on Saturday.

The new building has been funded thanks to the legacy of Hugh and Molly Brown; The Wolfson Foundation; Jimmie Cairncross Charitable Trust; RS MacDonald Charitable Trust; The Stafford Trust; The Rushbrook Charitable Trust and the Scottish Government’s Lifeboat Fund Appeal.

Representives were present to mark the occasion and each received a framed print of the new lifeboat station.

Tom Robertson, the Queensferry lifeboat operations manager, told assembled guests: “The old lifeboat station didn’t have sufficient space for training, crew facilities and group visits.

‘‘We now have immediate access to the water.

‘‘Our fundraising shop was basically a trolley in front of the boathouse.

“Today we have a new boathouse with room for our lifeboat and tractor.

‘‘We can now launch straight down the pier, saving crucial minutes.

‘‘There is space for training, crew lockers, mechanic’s equipment and, at last, an office. Our souvenir sellers now have a proper shop with purpose-built facilities.

“Our volunteers need and deserve the best facilities we can give them to save lives at sea and now they have them.

‘That is thanks to people like you (the guests) and to the supportive organisations that made this station a reality.”

Charles Ritchie, who represented one of the benefactors, the legacy of Hugh and Molly Brown, said Molly, from Islay, and Hugh, from the East Neuk of Fife, were raised by the sea.

Although his work, as chief executive of HSBC, saw him travel the world they always loved their time at home, which overlooked the Forth. On their passing, they left £1 million to the RNLI.

Local ministers, Reverend David Cameron and Father Tony McDonald, led a service of dedication before Tom and Charles, on behalf of all the donors, christened the building.

The occasion also saw Tom and helmsman Iain Leil receive long service awards. Tom received the RNLI’s gold badge for 40 years voluntary service while Iain marked 20 years.

*The RNLI shop is looking for volunteers, particularly at weekends. Anyone who is interested should contact Donald Christian, RNLI’s retail manager for Scotland, on 07500 225290