Lifeboat on course for grand Peterhead return
GP bought vessel that saved hundreds of people
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