THE fund to provide Hoylake RNLI with a new £2m all-weather lifeboat has been swollen by a significant legacy from former WREN Pauline Micklewood.
It will be named Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood in memory of her father and will be launched early next year.
The life-saving charity has announced that the legacy of Miss Micklewood, from Oxford, will generate most of the money for the state-of-the-art Shannon class craft.
Her generous gift will be added to funds raised during an appeal, which ended in 2009, to help provide both the new Hoylake Lifeboat Station and the new lifeboat.
John Curry, Hoylake RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: ‘This new craft will be the latest in a fine line of all-weather lifeboats to be stationed at Hoylake.
The speed and manoeuvrability of the new Shannon class lifeboat, coupled with the capability of the Supacat launch and recovery system, will reduce the time taken to reach casualties.
“Our very sincere thanks go to the late Miss Paulette Micklewood for her generosity, which has helped provide Hoylake lifeboat station with such a wonderful, state-of-the-art lifeboat in memory of her father, Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood.
The new Shannon class lifeboat will replace Hoylake’s current RNLI Mersey class lifeboat, Lady of Hilbre, when she comes to the end of her operational life in early 2015.
As the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets instead of propellers, the Shannon is the most agile in the charity’s fleet.
Capable of 25 knots, the Shannon is 50% faster than the lifeboats it replaces, ensuring that those in need are reached even more quickly than before.
Matt Crofts, RNLI divisional operations manager, said: ‘The Shannon is an impressive lifeboat which will enable volunteer RNLI crews like those at Hoylake to reach casualties faster and more safely than ever before.
“It has been designed by in-house RNLI design engineers and we involved volunteer crew members in the trials to ensure we were producing a new class of lifeboat which would deliver the very best life-saving capability right around the coast.’
Guy Rose, RNLI legacy income manager, said: “Miss Micklewood’s amazing generosity will be remembered every time our Hoylake crew go to sea in their new lifeboat and her legacy will help save many lives off the Wirral coast for decades to come.’
Miss Micklewood was born in Devon and had a great affinity with the sea, loving to sail and working at the coast or on Royal Navy ships in her role as a WREN, both in the UK and overseas.
After her retirement, she moved to Oxford to care for her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and also studied for a degree in psychology.
She wrote a book to help other carers and became very involved in the Alzheimer’s Society.
Miss Micklewood died in 2006 at the age of 75.