Whitby Lifeboat Station
This website previously presented two pages dedicated to the stations present crew members, something that was quite outdated. It was my wish to carry on doing so given that most of them are voluntary and deserve to be a focal point of the website. However this is only possible with the support of the coxswain Howard Fields, however when I approached him ealier this year to ask for some updated photographs he was not supportive at all and said he didn't think there were any, making Whitby lifeboat Station one of the only stations that does not document its activities? When I asked instead for a simple group photograph I was told he could not help me due to the present GDPR legislation even though I would be satisfied with one without the actual crew names. Later that day I was shocked to see a group photograph of the stations crew 'with the names included' on both Facebook and Twitter, clearly the GDPR legislation doesn't matter when its the coxswain publishing photographs and private names on social media where tens of thousands can access the data.
The station has moved away completely from having its own website choosing instead to pay to host a single web page that features a webcam view of part of the harbour (when it is functioning) the predicted weather and tidal times then just links to its Facebook and Twitter pages which is depressing for a dominant station with a 200 year old catalogue of amazing historical archives. The station once had an informative website administered by 'Jonathan Marr' that simply needed updating, I find it bizarre that the station has chosen to have a single web page.
I contacted Jack Barber who is responsible for the stations Website Design and Development to ask if this was just a short term web page but I was told that people can still obtain information about its boats, crews and coxswains by going direct to the RNLI website, which is a shame as this type of information was readily available before Howard Fields tenure as the coxswain?
2023 Whitby Fish & Ships Festival
The festival was a success building on last year's visitor numbers aided by wonderful weather., with a plethora of exhibitors and performers ensuring there was something for all ages. I was particularly interested in the "Whitby Trilogy" by the Whitby based professional theatre company Dogwood Productions looking at three aspects of our relationship with the sea. I was particularly interested in the third installment"The Saved" as this referenced Mary Roberts who not only survived the loss of the Titanic but also the loss of the hospital ship Rohilla. I called over to the lifeboat station hoping to capture the first two parts of this intriguing production "The Sea and The Shore" and hopefully film them.
Unfortunately the incumbent coxswain proved to be as helpful as I'd expected! When asked about the production his response was "I don't know anything about it, what will be said or when they might turn up" this would essentially make him blind and possibly dyslexic as there were bundles of weekend programmes scattered about the harbour including some outside the lifeboat station, it goes without saying he was fully aware of what goes on in the lifeboat station or ought to?
Thankfully the wonderful staff at the Endeavour replica were the exact opposite and were the kind of people one would expect to meet in a professional capacity they couldn't be more helpful. Once down inside the boat I made contact with members of the theatrical company and introduced myself and my interest in this part of the trilogy and my desire to film it. I assured them it was purely for personal reasons and that I would like to send it to descendants of Mary Roberts who would no doubt see it as another aspect of her life that today 109 years on from her fateful voyage on the Rohilla.
I really enjoyed the presentation and found it struck a good balance between the service offered by the RNLI in 1914 and today.
Whitby's New Lifeboat Lois Ivan
Sunday 11 June 2023 was a momentous day for Whitby Lifeboat station as it welcomed its new all weather lifeboat Lois Ivan. The boat entered Whitby harbour entrance at 13.49, the time which corresponds with the operational numbers on the side of the lifeboat. The numbers are special as they are the location for the names of 10,000 people whose loved ones subscribed to the RNLI Launch a Memory campaign.
The Lifeboat entered the harbour in a flotilla, with the present all weather lifeboat George and Mary Webb leading the procession, followed by Whitby's D class inshore lifeboat and lifeboats from neighboring stations Scarborough, Staithes and the independent station Runswick Rescue Boat and the former Upgang lifeboat William Riley. Members of Whitby Yacht Club and a number of local pleasure boats brought up the rear of the procession.
The new lifeboat Lois Ivan berthed on the pontoon after the long journey from Poole.
Copyright Colin Brittain 2023
Whitby's new all-weather Lifeboat
The boat was out daily getting its volunteer crew up to speed, and has now taken over the mantle of becoming Whitby's permanent all weather lifeboat. Right from the outset people wanted to know when they could go and see the lifeboat to view where the names they had chosen to be on the boat's decals. Being a large website I was initially inundated with emails wanting to know. However I was aware that the Coxswain had issued instructions that nobody should make the journey to try and see the boat as it was going to be out each day. Furthermore as the lifeboat will be moored on a pontoon with no public access permitted I advised them that they will not get an opportunity to see the names in situ. The Press Officer informed me that later in the year they were going to arrange an event for donors and presumably members of the public to see the lifeboat out of the water, sadly as expected nothing has yet taken place and I am not aware of any plans to hold such an event. There are temporary signs outside the lifeboat station where those who subscribed to the Launch A Memory scheme can see the position of their chosen name.
I'm convinced the coxswain and the press officer are not very well aligned as to what is happening at the station, I was told by the Press Secretary that the new lifeboat would be involved in the flag weekend display, however in the run up to the annual event Mr. Fields, responded to an enquiry from a family hoping to see the boat that it would be out on crew training. But then on the day as the Press Secretary had informed me the new boat was part of the mock rescue exercise?
As a friend of some of the crew, I was made aware that the Trent class lifeboat George and Mary Webb would be leaving Whitby for the final time this month. As usual there was no real notification of this from the press officer or the station, something I found quite appalling. I was certain that having served Whitby for so many years and had a very distinguishing service that something would be made for the townsfolk to pay their respect as the boat left the harbour. I was told by a crewman that the boat would be leaving with just a couple of days notice at 08:30 am so I posted it on to my Facebook page. I also added my dissatisfaction that the boat would be leaving at a time when most people would not know and therefore miss its departure. As is usually the case I had a number of emails, asking why the boat had left without anybody knowing, I pointed out that they should contact the station press officer or the coxswain as my website is a private website. There were a number of responses on Facebook about my post, which I expected until the Press Officer Ceri Parkin informed me that I had been blocked from Whitby's RNLI social media pages as she no longer wanted to see the constant barrage of negativity from me and personal attacks on the station's volunteers. I was quite surprised that as the Press Officer she had posted what amount to blatant lies? I informed her that if she was going to take such action that she at least be truthfully honest! At no point had I posted a single or constant barrage of negativity, nor personal attacks on the station's volunteers one bit. I invited her to check my profile and the posts I had made so that she could see how totally innacurate she was.
I have posted negative comments about Mr. Fields in his role as the Coxswain, but as a fully paid staff member of the RNLI he IS NOT a volunteeer. My posts about him may appear personal but they began with his utter unprofessionalism and outright negative attitude towards me for no reason whatsoever, frankly how he see's them doesn't bother me at all I do not see him as being fit for the post he holds, but I am entitled to my own opions. Thankfully, not all the crew feel the same way the coxswain and press officer feel and I have their support so being blocked from the station's social media isn't really going to make any difference whatsoever, I will still be able to photograph the station and its boats using my cameras and of course film it's activities using my drone.
What was initially my home page has been split it into two pages, the second page contains a better introduction of the lifeboat station and can be found using the 'welcome' navigation element.
The official dedication of the new lifeboat station and the naming of the new inshore lifeboat OEM Stone III occurred on Friday the 7th September 2007. The day began as a wonderfully warm sunny day which added to the occasion. HRH the Duchess of Kent officially opened the station heralding a new era for Whitby Lifeboat Station. The following link leads to a succession of of comprehensive gallery pages, I am proud to be able to share. To complement the pages related to the official opening of the new station I have seven gallery pages that present the work involved in the dismantling and removal of the old station built in 1909 (seen right). The pages begin with the dismantling of the old station and work through to the completion of the new lifeboat station, simply use the link in the old station photograph to access the gallery pages.
The former Upgang and Whitby lifeboat William Riley had its first major fundraising venture in 2008 following its complete restoration recreating the journey undertaken by the Tynemouth motor lifeboat "Henry Vernon" in 1914 to the wreck of the Rohilla, details of the fundraising event itself can be found on my William Riley fundraising page.
Please feel free to use the search facility below to search for something throughout the entire lifeboat website.
If you have any questions, queries or suggestions attributed to my Whitby Lifeboat Station website please do not hesitate to contact me using the link below, feedback is often welcome.
Copyright © Colin Brittain 2022 All Rights Reserved