The Shields Ferry joins the RNLI’s 200th anniversary celebrations

Nexus Managing Director Cathy Massarella and Ferry skipper Joe Avary in the wheelhouse on Pride of the Tyne press the button to sound the ship's horn in tribute to the RNLI
8 March 2024

The Shields Ferry has joined a host of other vessels to help the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Tynemouth mark 200 years of saving lives at sea. 

The Ferry was part of a flotilla of boats on the River Tyne on Monday, 4 March, which sounded its sirens to mark the RNLI’s 200th anniversary on the stroke of midday. 

We were honoured to play a small part in the celebrations, and the customers on board the Ferry had greatly enjoyed the event. 

The Tynemouth lifeboat pulled alongside the Pride of the Tyne ferry to acknowledge the tribute.

It kicked off a year of events marking the RNLI’s 200th anniversary.

Kev Leonard, Customer Services Operations Manager at Nexus, said: “It was a big honour for the Shields Ferry to take part in the RNLI’s 200th anniversary celebrations this week. 

“The lifeboat crew at Tynemouth, and those crews across the whole country, do a fantastic job saving lives at sea. They provide a vital voluntary service, one that we are hugely grateful for.

“The Ferry is part of a community of mariners based on the River Tyne so we were delighted to be among the flotilla of vessels to sound their horns in unison to mark two hundred years of the Tynemouth Lifeboat. 

“It was an occasion that our crew greatly enjoyed, and the customers who were on board at the time really loved it too.” 

Sam Clow, coxswain from Tynemouth Lifeboat Station said: “The RNLI has been saving lives for 200 years; we’re the latest generation carrying on the lifesaving work which has been carried out by many generations before us. Thank you to all our supporters.”

Angela Rook, RNLI Associate Director added: ‘We are delighted that North East mariners are supporting the RNLI by sounding their ships’ whistles at noon on the charity’s 200th anniversary and their support extends to crew at Tynemouth Lifeboat Station

“This recognises the strong and lasting relationship between sea-goers and our volunteer rescue crews who have been saving lives at sea for 200 years. We hope, with the support of our kind and generous donors and their communities, they will always be able to do so.”

Mark Taylor, deputy coxswain at Tynemouth lifeboat, who has been volunteering for 15 years and is a second-generation rescuer, said the station had saved more than 850 lives over two centuries.

Gateshead Millennium Bridge was lit up yellow on Monday night to mark the anniversary.

The first purpose-built lifeboat Original began saving lives on the River Tyne in 1790. Tynemouth has had a lifeboat station since 1798. It became part of an institution 200 years ago in 1824 and the RNLI took over in 1862. Tynemouth’s crews have launched the lifeboats 2,632 times and saved 854 lives.

Operating from the historic North Shields Fish Quay, Tynemouth operates a D class inshore lifeboat and a Severn class all-weather lifeboat. The station’s crews have been awarded 22 medals for gallantry.

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