Mary Stanford’s Sister Boat

Priscilla MacBean has a new home

Priscilla MacBean – the final chapter. Ion Castro completes the story as the former lifeboat arrives at its final resting place.

After nearly a year of restoration, a magnificent feat of dedication in itself, the 34 ft. former Eastbourne, Kirkcudbright and Maryport lifeboat was moved to its new location, a specially prepared ‘dry dock’ at the bottom of Old London Road at the top of Hastings Old Town on the 86th anniversary of the loss of sister ship Mary Stanford, the Rye Harbour Lifeboat. The event was witnessed by hundreds of enthusiastic onlookers and a list of VIP’s that included Hastings & Rye’s MP, Mayors of Rye and Hastings, Miss Hastings and her attendants, Councillors, Lifeboatmen and crews from Hastings, Rye Eastbourne and Dover, Firemen, Hastings Bonfire, Hastings Town Crier, Hastings Old Town Crier, Coastguards, and a film crew from BBC News to name but a few.

The Priscilla Macbean, launched in 1921, was named after the wife of a wealthy Glasgow business man that originally funded her and was Eastbourne’s first ever motor lifeboat. She was sister boat to the Mary Stanford, the Rye Harbour Lifeboat which was tragically lost with all 17 crew members November 15 1928 – exactly 86 years ago to the day.

Priscilla MacBean

At 9am Jonathan Mendenhall told the story of the Priscilla MacBean and the Mary Stanford, followed by a blessing of the boat by Father Robert Featherstone and a short service of remembrance for the crew of the Mary Stanford when the names of the crew who died were read out. Principal organiser, Old-Towner Deeday White, commented “The ceremony went absolutely fantastic. I have never seen an event In my 70 years that has brought Eastbourne, Hastings and Rye together,
There must have been more than 300 people at the ceremony itself. It brought together coastguards, lifeboat crews and the relatives of the Rye Harbour crew of the Mary Stanford. People had tears in their eyes”.

The Priscilla MacBean was hauled from the Stade Open Space, near Hastings lifeboat station, pulled on boards all the way up The Bourne to its
final destination, The bells at St Clements Church and All Saints were also rung in memory of the Rye Harbour lifeboat crew from the Mary Stanford.”

The Priscilla MacBean was the first beach-landed lifeboat designed for motor, sail and oars. In 1928 the vessel was moved to Kirkcudbright in Scotland to cover the area of the Solway Firth. A few years later she was moved to Maryport in Cumbria before being decommissioned by the RNLI in 1934.

The following Friday, November 21st, following a short ceremony the decorative lighting was switched on.

“Rye’s Own” June 2015 Issue (Hard Copy Back Numbers Still Available)

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