RICHARD ASHLEY - Newbiggin's eighth lifeboat
The eighth Lifeboat for Newbiggin was funded from a legacy of the late Mr. C.Ashley of Mentone, France. Mr. Ashley had been a generous benefactor to the R.N.L.I., funding a number of other Lifeboats across the British Isles.
This particular Lifeboat was a Liverpool class costing £13,153 19sh 5d and measuring 35foot
9 inches long by 10 foot 8 inches wide. She weighed 8 ton 8 cwt and was built by Messrs. Groves & Gutteridge being the 41st boat out of a total build of 60 such Lifeboats.
She was powered by two 20hp FKR3 diesels which gave a top speed of 7.25 knots and carried enough fuel to travel 100 miles. With a crew of seven she can carry up to 30 survivors on board in rough weather. Other features included a searchlight, radiotelephone and line-throwing pistol.
Following a journey by sea the Lifeboat arrived at Newbiggin on August 3rd, 1950.
New Lifeboat Named
The naming ceremony took place on June 30th, 1951 with Major Viscount Ridley CBE JP DL presiding and Commander SC Dickinson RN VR Inspector of Lifeboats describing the Lifeboat. The Lord Saltone MC, a member of the RNLI Committee of Management presented the boat to the institution from the donor. Mr. JF Gibson Honorary Secretary of the Newbiggin Branch received the boat. The Bishop of Newcastle Canon W Maddison MA and the Reverend BJ Wiltshire BA dedicated the Lifeboat. The choir of St. Bartholemews Church accompanied by the Salvation Army Band led the singing. Helen, Duchess of Northumberland then named the Lifeboat ‘Richard Ashley’ and the Lifeboat was launched. During the ceremony a Vellum recording 100 years of Lifeboat service at Newbiggin was presented to the Station. Mr. S. Brown, Chairman of the Branch, accepted the Vellum and Mr. B. Jarrat proposed a vote of thanks to the Duchess. Newbiggin Colliery Band played the music before and after the ceremony.