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Community shows its appreciation of RNLI lifeboat crew in Wells

PUBLISHED: 10:25 14 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 14 July 2019

Wells 150th celebrations. The flotilla of boats. Pictures: Ray West

Wells 150th celebrations. The flotilla of boats. Pictures: Ray West

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The community came out to show its appreciation for a town's lifeboat crew and pledge support for the future.

Phil Eaglen , right, receives his long service badge from the chief executive of the RNLI, Mark Dowie. Pictures: Ray WestPhil Eaglen , right, receives his long service badge from the chief executive of the RNLI, Mark Dowie. Pictures: Ray West

The lifeboat is an integral part of Wells and a week of activities is being held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the town's RNLI lifeboat station.

Hundreds of people attended a day of celebration on Saturday, July 13, when the station was presented with a commemorative vellum.

The Wells all-weather lifeboat, Doris Mann of Ampthill, and the inshore lifeboat, Peter Wilcox, later led a flotilla of lifeboats, including Lucy Lavers, which was one of the ships involved in the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

Wells volunteer lifeboat press officer John Mitchell said: "It's great for the RNLI to get together with the community. It shows the appreciation they have for the work these volunteers do. They give up their time voluntarily and spend hours training to acquire the expertise that sets them apart. "Long may it continue."

Wells 150th celebrations. The crew with dignitaries outside the all-weather lifeboat. Pictures: Ray WestWells 150th celebrations. The crew with dignitaries outside the all-weather lifeboat. Pictures: Ray West

Wells lifeboat coxswain Nicky King has been involved with the crew for 33 years.

He said: "It's part of the town and there's been a good turn-out all week. It has raised our profile and shown everyone that we are still here."

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Among those recognised was Phil Eaglen, who will be 68 in August.

The RNLI lifeboat crew at Wells outside the lifeboat. Pictures: David BaleThe RNLI lifeboat crew at Wells outside the lifeboat. Pictures: David Bale

He received his 50-year service badge, and said: "To me, it's just another day. But it's an achievement in itself, and there are not many 50s badges given out. You should finish at 65, but my term has been extended and I work part-time now."

His son Darren and granddaughter Angel are also on the crew.

Peter Rainsford, Wells lifeboat chairman, said: "There's a great atmosphere and about 100 people were invited from far afield, all of them connected to the lifeboat.

"The week is about celebrating the whole community. We have achieved great things with this and I'm really delighted.

Wells 150th anniversary celebrations. L-R, Nicky King, Peter Rainsford, Lord Leicester,  President of the Station, and former coxswain David James Cox. Pictures: David BaleWells 150th anniversary celebrations. L-R, Nicky King, Peter Rainsford, Lord Leicester, President of the Station, and former coxswain David James Cox. Pictures: David Bale

"Almost everyone in the town knows someone who has been involved with the lifeboat."

An exhibition showing a collection of paintings and photographs together with memorabilia runs at the Maltings, Staithe Street until Tuesday, July 16.

For more information, visit www.wellslifeboat.org/events.htm

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