South West Wales

New £10m St Davids lifeboat station's first launch

The new Tamar class the Norah Wortley

A new £10m Pembrokeshire lifeboat station has launched its first vessel.

The old Tyne class lifeboat Garside launched simultaneously with the new £2.7m Tamar class Norah Wortley from St Davids.

The new station was carved out of the cliff face in a massive engineering project - after the new lifeboat was too large to fit in the old station.

It was also the final time a lifeboat launched from the 104-year-old St Davids station in St Justinian's.

The old Garside lifeboat has launched 343 times to emergencies in 28 years service and has saved 79 lives and rescued 35 people.

Image caption The old lifeboat station next to the new one, which was carved out of a cliff face

The remote location of the new station posed a construction challenge with most building materials arriving by sea with works constructed using a large barge.

Former Wales international footballer Ian Walsh, raised in nearby Solva, and ex-Wales rugby star Gerald Davies led a community appeal that raised £214,000 towards the costs of the project, including a £80,000 bequest from the sister of late lifeboat captain Bleddyn James.

The new 25-knot lifeboat for the St Davids RNLI, which was founded in 1869, is designed to reduce the impact on the crew as it crashes through waves.

Image caption The Norah Wortley was kept on a mooring while the new boathouse was built

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