Lifeboat on course for grand Peter­head re­turn

GP bought ves­sel that saved hun­dreds of peo­ple

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - News - BY CHRISTO­PHER RAE

One of the most fa­mous lifeboats in the his­tory of Peter­head is on course to make a r e t urn to t he Buchan town.

Dur­ing its 30-year ser­vice at the port, the Ju­lia Park Barry launched 162 times and saved 496 lives.

The mercy ves­sel is cur­rently ly­ing par­tially re­stored at Nel­son Ships at Don­aghadee in North­ern Ire­land, but will be re­turn­ing to the Blue Toon later this year.

She was bought by re­tired lo­cal GP and aca­demic Pro­fes­sor Sir Lewis Ritchie, who wanted to give some­thing back to the com­mu­nity.

The pur­chase and restora­tion of the ves­sel has also re­ceived a £30,000 fund­ing boost from the Peter­head Port Author­ity.

A steer­ing group in­volv­ing ar­chi­tects McAdam De­sign Part­ner­ship, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Peter­head Busi­ness Fo­rum, Peter­head Fam­ily His­tory So­ci­ety, Peter­head Com­mu­nity Coun­cil and the lo­cal RNLI sta­tion will now de­cide on the next step for the project.

Two pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions sug­gested for hous­ing the ves­sel were next to the t own’s new Mar­itime Academy at the Lido and along from the ex­ist­ing lifeboat shed at the har­bour be­side the can­non.

Draft plans for each site will now be drawn up and pos­si­ble sources of fund­ing for the project – cur­rently es­ti­mated to cost about £ 200,000 – are be­ing looked at.

Peter­head Port Author­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive John Wal­lace said: “It’s a very ex­cit­ing project and some­thing I think the peo­ple of Peter­head will get be­hind.

“Hopefully we can get the ma­jor­ity of the project funded through grant-aid although I’m sure there are plenty of peo­ple who would be will­ing to con­trib­ute to such a fan­tas­tic project.”

In Jan­uary 1942 the boat had her most mem­o­rable mis­sion when she went out in se­vere weather to res­cue from the SS Runswick, SS Saltwick and SS Fidra.

The lifeboat launched four times in the space of 75 hours , and earned coxswain John B. McLean the RNLI’s high­est hon­our of a gold medal – the first to be awarded by the in­sti­tu­tion in Scot­land for 104 years.

The Ju­lia Park Barry was taken out of ser­vice in 1969 when­she­was­re­placed­bythe James and Mariska Joicey.

The Ju­lia Park Barry launched 162 times dur­ing her 30-year ser­vice and will hopefully be back in the Blue Toon soon

John Wal­lace of Peter­head Port Author­ity is ex­cited

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