For the onlookers who gathered to see Blackpool’s new lifeboat officially named, it was a stark reminder of the craft’s importance.
Just as officials and residents gathered at a ceremony on Saturday afternoon, the newest addition to the town’s lifeboat station was launched into action after getting a call about four people cut off by the tide in Cleveleys.
William and Eleanor – the name chosen for the boat by an RNLI donor – was forced into operation when the two adults and two children were caught out opposite Victoria Road West. Thankfully, they were rescued and taken to safety within minutes of the boat launching at 2.30pm and suffered no injuries.
William and Eleanor, an Atlantic 85 boat, is the jewel in the crown of the resort’s fleet and has been designed to cope with the demands of Blackpool’s summer season.
A foot longer than its predecessor and fitted with two monstrous engines, the boat is rapid and adaptable to the Fylde coast’s unreliable climate.
The name William and Eleanor was chosen by William Seed, from Stockport, who died in 2009 aged 85.
His role as secretary at South Manchester Swimming Club for 30 years led him to have a long admiration for the work of the RNLI he chose to donate money to the charity in order for them to keep up their heroic work.
William chose to name the boat after himself and his sister Eleanor, who died in 1995 aged 72.
Linda Fletcher, 67, from Stockport, a friend of William and Eleanor, was representing them at the ceremony.
She said: “He would’ve been very proud today.
“He was always involved with the water sports and he knew this was a very worthwhile charity and they didn’t receive a lot of money.
“He’s done this because of the lives this boat will save at sea and it was a very important cause to him.”
Peter Wood, 64, was also representing William as a friend.
He added: “His connection stems from his time at South Manchester Swimming Club because he appreciates the job they (the RNLI) do here.
“This is kind of the end of his story.
“He left money for a few different charities but this was his main one and to see his wish fulfilled is really nice.”
The boathouse, on Central Promenade, was altered to accommodate the boat and a trailer was purchased by money donated from Ronald Whittingham.
Mr Whittingham, 88, died in 2009 and had lived in Kenya for 60 years, but left money for eight different RNLI projects.
Keith Horrocks, Blackpool RNLI Lifeboat operations manager, said: “The generous legacies of Mr Seed and Mr Whittingham are wonderful gifts to our station and to the people of Blackpool.
“Even today it has answered the call so fast and got itself up to Cleveleys and rescued those people.”