Lifeboat crew miss boat blessing to rescue sailors

Spirit of Loch Fyne called to broken down boat as hundreds gather at The Cobb for annual service

A lifeboat emergency brought drama to the annual blessing of the boats service at Lyme Regis yesterday (Sunday).

Minutes before the Cobb ceremony was due to take place the RNLI crew was called to rescue four people in a broken down powerboat.

Everything was ready for the inter-denominational service when Portland coastguards received the alert and asked the lifeboat to go to Beer Head where a 21 foot powerboat had developed engine trouble.

The lifeboat was already at sea, but due to return to harbour for the service when the call was received.

Lifeboat operations manager Grahame Forshaw said: “Obviously there was no question about it, we had to go the aid of the four people in the powerboat.”

The service still started on time, but the presentation by the mayor and councillors of four wreaths to the lifeboat crew, who then took the wreaths to sea, was held later in the afternoon after the lifeboat had towed the powerboat to safety in Lyme Regis harbour.

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Some 300 people joined in the service in the sunshine at the harbourside.

The service was conducted by local church leaders with music by the Lyme Regis Town Band.

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