University backs appeal for state-of-the-art Anstruther lifeboat station
A Fife-wide appeal to raise £100,000 for a new lifeboat station in Anstruther has received backing from the University of St Andrews Community Fund.
The local RNLI appeal, launched as part of a wider £4 million fundraising drive to cover the cost of bringing a new state-of-the-art lifeboat to the East Neuk, aims to ensure the Shannon Class lifeboat has a purpose-built home, as well as providing its crew and the local community with a multi-use facility that will take them into a new age of lifesaving.
Anstruther lifeboat station is home to the only all-weather lifeboat on the Fife coast, and serving one of the busiest waterways in the UK, it’s important that crews can reach those needing their help as quickly as possible.
However, as volunteer crew member and marine biologist Emily Hague explained, after 30 years Anstruther’s much-loved Mersey Class lifeboat – which has saved around 550 people in that time – needs replaced.
Speaking during a visit to the existing lifeboat station by University of St Andrews Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone, Emily Hague said: “Technology has moved on and we’re expecting a new Shannon Class in 2023. It’s the most agile all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI fleet and, with the benefit of increased speed, has the potential to help us half our response times. As we know, every second counts when it comes to saving lives.”
Emily explained the fundraising appeal includes plans to create a new boathouse as the current one isn’t big enough to house the new lifeboat.
She told Professor Dame Sally Mapstone: “We urgently need the community’s help to fund a purpose-built lifeboat station and slipway at Anstruther to carry on our rescue mission. As we don’t receive any government funding we are counting on the kindness of our supporters to raise £100,000 towards the total cost of this project.
“With a new station, we’ll not only have room to house the new lifeboat, our inshore boat and both their launching systems, but we will have the latest technology with screens for live transmission during rescues, weather and shipping data, as well as crew availability. This is all vital from an operational point of view.”
Also integral to the new station will be a training room where crew members will have space to hone their boat-handling skills.
Welcoming the funding support, long-serving coxswain Michael Bruce said: “We are delighted to have the support of the University of St Andrews; the £3000 grant from the Community Fund will be put specifically towards this room. Providing ongoing training is essential in making sure we make the right decisions at key moments in rescue operations.”
Anstruther lifeboat is also entirely dependent on its volunteer crew, which has included members of staff and students from the University of St Andrews.
Michael added: “We are so grateful to all our volunteer crew members including Emily Hague, who is associated with the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews, as well as student Sophie Davies, who has made an enormous contribution in her time here.”
Professor Dame Sally Mapstone said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to support the £100,000 Community Appeal by contributing specifically to the creation of the new training room. The new lifeboat and lifeboat station will bring so many benefits to the East Neuk and the entire area covered by the RNLI and, most importantly, will help save lives at sea.
“I know that the RNLI is very grateful to all its volunteers for giving up so much of their time to serve as crew and we are delighted to see University staff and students playing such an active role in their communities.”
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.