Res­cue mis­sion over sta­tion’s stolen han­dles

Carmarthen Journal - - News -

TWO mem­bers of New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Sta­tion trav­elled to Corn­wall to present a set of old cast iron door han­dles to coxswain Patch Har­vey after theirs was stolen from the his­toric Pen­lee Lifeboat Sta­tion in Mouse­hole.

The for­mer lifeboat build­ing is ded­i­cated to those who lost their lives, in­clud­ing all the lifeboat’s crew, fol­low­ing the Pen­lee lifeboat dis­as­ter in 1981. It has been left the same since the Solomon Browne lifeboat launched and never re­turned.

The two han­dles were once fit­ted to the front doors of the old lifeboat sta­tion in New Quay, Ceredi­gion, and before the sta­tion was re­built in the early 1990s the han­dles were re­moved by the cur­rent RNLI me­chanic Bernie Davies as a keep­sake and some­thing to re­mem­ber the old build­ing by.

Mr Davies said: “On read­ing on Face­book that some­one had stolen the Pen­lee Lifeboat Sta­tion door han­dle, I was shocked and up­set. I knew I had to do some­thing and re­mem­bered I had kept the old New Quay lifeboat sta­tion’s cast iron door han­dles which were ex­actly the same. I saw that they were ap­peal­ing for repli­cas so I went to my garage and rum­maged around.”

Mr Davies, along with Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI lifeboat op­er­a­tions man­ager, trav­elled the 313 miles that sep­a­rate the two sta­tions, a jour­ney of six hours, and vis­ited the old Pen­lee Lifeboat Sta­tion at Pen­lee Point where they presented the han­dles.

Now the two lifeboat sta­tions have some shared his­tory and the han­dles, turned so many times by gen­er­a­tions of New Quay lifeboat­men, will have a new life at Pen­lee Lifeboat Sta­tion.

Mr Har­vey said: “We are all thrilled to re­ceive th­ese beau­ti­ful old cast iron han­dles from our col­leagues at New Quay Lifeboat Sta­tion. They’re iden­ti­cal to the han­dle that was stolen. Our thanks go to Bernie and Roger for mak­ing such a long jour­ney to de­liver them – RNLI fam­ily at its best.”

Mr Davies added: “I am so pleased our old han­dles are be­ing put to good use and the his­toric build­ing will be re­in­stated to its orig­i­nal state.”

The Pen­lee lifeboat dis­as­ter oc­curred on De­cem­ber 19, 1981 off the coast of Corn­wall.

The lifeboat Solomon Browne, based at the Pen­lee Lifeboat Sta­tion, went to the aid of the ves­sel Union Star after its en­gines failed in heavy seas. After the lifeboat had res­cued four peo­ple, both ves­sels were lost with all hands; in all, 16 peo­ple died in­clud­ing eight vol­un­teer lifeboat­men.

The old boathouse at Pen­lee Point is an his­toric build­ing with its slip­way and build­ing kept the same as it was when the lifeboat launched, never to come back, and a me­mo­rial gar­den was cre­ated be­side it in 1985 to com­mem­o­rate the crew of the Solomon Browne.

Picture: Greg Martin

Bernie Davies (cen­tre) pre­sent­ing the cast iron door han­dles to Pen­lee Coxswain Patch Har­vey (left) with Roger Couch (right).

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