Video: Ilfracombe’s old lifeboat bids farewell

The Spirit of Derbyshire leaves Ilfracombe for the last time. Picture: RNLI/Jane Perrin

The Spirit of Derbyshire leaves Ilfracombe for the last time. Picture: RNLI/Jane Perrin - Credit: RNLI/Jane Perrin

Not a dry eye on the dock as residents gather to say goodbye to the Mersey class lifeboat...

Ilfracombe lifeboat station said goodbye to its faithful Mersey class lifeboat after 25 years on Tuesday.

Crowds watched as the Spirit of Derbyshire sailed out of the harbour for the last time, to the sounds of the Last Post played by Joe Ivan.

The lifeboat is being reassigned to the RNLI relief fleet as it makes way for the new state-of-the-art Shannon class Barry and Peggy High Foundation that has taken up service in Ilfracombe.

Mechanic and deputy coxswain Leigh Hanks had the task of heading the volunteer crew taking the old boat back to RNLI headquarters at Poole.


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As she prepared to speed from the harbour to a round of applause, the emergency service vehicles gathered on the pier sounded their horns in salute.

The Spirit of Derbyshire has enjoyed a busy 25 year career.

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She has responded to 392 shouts and saved a total of 50 lives, assisted 556 people and put to sea in every imaginable kind of weather.

She arrived on station on June 22, 1990, and her first service was the following day.

* Video by Steve Pugsley.

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