A NEW lifeboat which recently went on service at Littlehampton RNLI station was officially named on Thursday (October 16).
The volunteer crew welcomed Kent couple Ray and Val Humby, whose donation funded the new D-class inshore lifeboat.
The boat was officially named Ray of Hope at the ceremony.
It was delivered to Littlehampton in July this year and officially went on operational service the same month.
Since then, the volunteer crew have launched her on 14 separate rescues.
The lifeboat Ray of Hope is the first that has been funded by Mr and Mrs Humby, who live in Orpington.
They have a long-held appreciation of the RNLI and decided to fund a lifeboat as a symbol of their admiration for the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews, who give up their own time and launch to help people in distress.
Nick White, lifeboat operations manager at Littlehampton RNLI, said Thursday’s ceremony was a celebration of the new boat and of the couple’s ‘overwhelming generosity’.
“A lifeboat-naming ceremony has a formal side – the lifeboat being handed into the care of the charity, and us accepting her from the RNLI.
“But, more than that, it is a celebration of the people who make all that possible, in this case, Ray and Val.
“Since the moment we learned they were funding a new lifeboat for us here at Littlehampton, Ray and Val were welcomed to the station and are now firm friends of the lifeboat community.
“They have taken a great interest in the development of the lifeboat and have been our guests at several events and occasions at the lifeboat station.”
Mr Humby said he and Mrs Humby were delighted that the lifeboat they had provided was already proving her worth through the rescues she had been involved in.
He said: “Val and I are not sailors, the only sailing we have ever done was on the Norfolk Broads when we hired a half-decker for two weeks. That was over 50 years ago.
“My earliest memories of lifeboats are visiting stations on family holidays. We have always been awe-inspired by the efforts to which lifeboat crews will go to save lives.”