Saviour of 150 souls back home in port

The Ann Letitia Russell lifeboat back home in Fleetwood with (from left) marina assistants Daryl Randles, Simon Price and Will Taylor

The Ann Letitia Russell lifeboat back home in Fleetwood with (from left) marina assistants Daryl Randles, Simon Price and Will Taylor

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In her heyday she saved more than 150 souls – now Associated British Ports (ABP) has joined a community effort to save former Fleetwood lifeboat The Ann Letitia Russell.

The 41ft Watson Class lifeboat, served the waters of Fleetwood from 1939 to 1976 before being sold, moving to ABP’s fellow port of Lowestoft and falling into disrepair.

I am extremely proud to have the staff of not one, but two, ABP ports volunteer to assist this worthwhile cause

When The Gazette reported on her condition in May this year, the community kick-started a campaign to restore her; and on Wednesday last week she was back on the road home to Fleetwood.

Ex-trawlerman Jeff Jackson formed the Ann Letitia Rescue Group and ABP’s teams at the ports of Lowestoft and Fleetwood volunteered their time.

Now, ABP has gifted storage space to ensure the project is a success.

In Lowestoft, the port staff lifted the historic vessel onto the road transport at no cost and on Wednesday, crews in Fleetwood were on hand to move her into the marina dry compound where her restoration will take place.

ABP Short Sea Ports director, Andrew Harston, said: “The Ann Letitia Russell lifeboat has a strong history in the seas off Fleetwood.

“I am extremely proud to have the staff of not one, but two, ABP ports volunteer to assist this worthwhile cause.”

ABP port manager north west, Paul Jervis, added: “The enthusiasm and tireless efforts of the Fleetwood community, particularly the Ann Letitia Russell Rescue Group, to get this project off the ground has been fantastic.

“The amount of work that has been achieved in three short months has to be commended.

“We are all looking forward to seeing her in her restored glory.”

Once the Ann Letitia Russell lifeboat is restored it is expected that she will be sited on the Fleetwood promenade.

The rescue group aims to have a fully-restored Ann Letitia Russell on display by her 80th ‘birthday’ in 2018.

If you would like to donate to the Ann Letitia Russell Rescue, please visit www.visitfleetwood.info/about/history/ann-letitia-russell-lifeboat.php