Tyne & Wear

Tragedy lifeboat George Elmy gets new home in Seaham

George Elmy lifeboat returning to Seaham
Image caption A flotilla of lifeboats escorted the restored George Elmy back to Seaham in June

An historic County Durham lifeboat house has been restored as the permanent home of a lifeboat involved in a disaster more than 50 years ago.

The George Elmy capsized during a rescue in huge seas off Seaham in November 1962, claiming the lives of five volunteer crew members.

The derelict lifeboat centre and fisherman's cabin has now been transformed into a tourist attraction.

The lifeboat returned to Seaham in June after a separate restoration project.

East Durham Heritage Group has also moved into the site, which features display areas and a shop.

'Former glory'

The restored George Elmy has been sited on a mobile cradle allowing it to be moved outside for special events.

The project has been jointly funded by Durham County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Durham County Council said: "Following the opening of the marina it's great to see the lifeboat house restored to its former glory as part of the on-going regeneration of Seaham.

"The newly constructed visitors centre will allow residents and tourists alike to appreciate the fascinating industrial and maritime heritage of the area."

The Liverpool Class George Elmy was removed by the RNLI after the 1962 tragedy and was thought to have disappeared entirely.

But in 2009, the vessel was spotted for sale and eventually purchased by the East Durham Heritage Group.

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