Proud day for RNLI as Kilkeel lifeboat named
The RNLI in Co Down has officially unveiled the latest addition to its fleet - a £130,000 state-of-the-art lifeboat for Kilkeel.
The Atlantic 85 vessel was named after former RNLI life governor Frank William Walton - whose legacy helped finance the new boat and the bigger station to accommodate it.
The lifeboat has been stationed at Kilkeel since last year but was only officially named during a special ceremony last weekend.
The lifeboat is 8.3 metres long and weighs 1.97 tonnes. It can reach a speed of 35 knots and has more space for casualties.
It can operate in up to force seven conditions and has the capability to be beached in an emergency.
Present at the naming ceremony were Geoffrey Wood, executor of the late Frank Walton, who delivered the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI, and Christine Ingram who unveiled a plaque in honour of her late cousin Denise Austin.
Kilkeel lifeboat operations manager Roy Teggarty paid tribute to the work of the RNLI volunteer crew members.
He said: "We couldn't operate our lifeboat without the dedication of our volunteer lifeboat men and women.
"The crew in Kilkeel provide an exceptional service to their community.
"There is nothing greater that a person could offer and they deserve nothing less than the best lifeboat, equipment, training and station facilities that money can buy."
Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat station has been in operation since 1986 and has been launched 305 times, rescuing 187 people.
The new lifeboat replaces the Atlantic 21 lifeboat Valerie Hull, which had been on station since 1993.