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Fundraiser launched as 50th anniversary of Longhope Lifeboat disaster approaches


As the 50th anniversary of the Longhope Lifeboat disaster approaches next year, the charitable trust which is responsible for the Longhope Lifeboat Museum is today launching a fundraising appeal, which will, it is hoped, raise £30,000 for essential maintenance and improvement work in the lead up to events commemorating the tragedy, the memory of which still resonates in the community, and far beyond Orkney’s shores.

The Longhope Lifeboat Museum Appeal will run until the end of the year with all money raised going towards direct to the urgent work required at the building.

The appeal is being backed by The Orcadian, which will provide regular updates on the fundraising effort for the duration of the appeal, which will run until the end of this year.

It was on March 17, 1969, that the Longhope Lifeboat T.G.B. capsized in mountainous seas while on service to the Liberian vessel Irene. The lifeboat’s entire crew of eight lost their lives as they selflessly headed towards the cargo ship.

Now, Longhope RNLI and Longhope Lifeboat Museum Trust are in the process of preparing for the commemorative events marking 50 years since the loss of the T.G.B. and her gallant crew, events which will take place both at land and at sea on March 17 next year, with further details to follow in the New Year.

Kevin Kirkpatrick is the grandson of the late Dan Kirkpatrick, and followed in the RNLI tradition in his family. He is the current coxswain of Longhope Lifeboat, and chairman of the museum trust.

He explained: “We at the trust are trying to raise funds to help us restore and maintain the Longhope Lifeboat Museum, which was the lifeboat station at the time of the disaster. Built in 1906, the principle aim of this maritime museum, is to tell the historical story of the old lifeboat station, the powerful events and rescues at sea and to remember former crew members.

“The museum is also home to the Thomas McCunn, a Watson class lifeboat, which was in service from 1933-1962. She launched 101 times and saved 308 lives. Incredibly, 80 years on, she is still launched down the slipway on special occasions and is the only slipway launched vintage lifeboat in the country.”

“We appeal for your help to make this possible and sincerely thank you in advance for any donations offered.”

Craig Taylor is The Orcadian sub-editor and writes a two page ‘Marine Scene’ section each week, he said that the paper is giving its wholehearted support to the campaign, giving regular updates in his marine section, as well as online.

Donations can be made online at https://www.gofundme.com/longhope-lifeboat-museum

The trust can also be contacted via email: longhope50@gmail.com

• RNLI Longhope and Longhope Lifeboat Museum Trust is also looking to gain an idea of the number of people who are interested in attending the commemorations, which begin at 10.15am on March 17 next year.

Kevin added: “If you are interested in joining us to remember those we lost, please reply before the end of October with names and total number of guests via email at: longhope50@gmail.com or ring the lifeboat station at 01856 701 333.”

Further details in The Orcadian.

Inside the museum.
(Mary Harris)

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