Dorset

RNLI City of Sheffield: Lifeboat which saved 650 people retired

All-weather lifeboat City of Sheffield Image copyright RNLI
Image caption The all-weather lifeboat City of Sheffield retires

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is bidding farewell to a much-loved lifeboat on its last day of service.

Poole Lifeboat Station is giving its all-weather class City Of Sheffield a send-off after 15 years.

The 47ft Tyne-class boat saved 650 people during its career and will be retired later.

The boat is being replaced by a faster D-class vessel after an RNLI coastal review in 2012.

The City of Sheffield has been moored alongside Poole Lifting Bridge and is fondly called the "big orange boat" by Quay visitors.

RNLI officials decided to remove the vessel because the review showed missions from Poole harbour could be handled by in-shore lifeboats instead.

Poole Harbour, will be served by a 25-knot Shannon class all-weather lifeboat at Swanage, the 25-knot Severn class at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and inshore lifeboats from Mudeford and Poole.

During her career the City of Sheffield has launched 557 times and volunteer crew have been onboard on missions for about 752 hours.

'End of an era'

Highlights during her career include featuring in a fleet of RNLI lifeboats when the Queen opened the RNLI College in 2004.

Anne-Marie Clark, an RNLI Poole volunteer, said everyone at the station was "very proud" of the City of Sheffield.

She said: "It will be very emotional and I'm sure we'll have a few tears but we are extremely proud to have had and used this asset to save lives. It's the end of an era after 15 years using her, personally I am very upset by it but it will be business as usual, we will continue to do our job saving lives at sea."

The RNLI will be hosting farewell celebrations over the weekend before the City of Sheffield is decommissioned on Sunday.

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