Portsmouth RNLI lifeboat station crew members at Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant

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A trio of volunteer crew members from Portsmouth RNLI lifeboat station will be helping to ensure participants and spectators have a safe and enjoyable time at the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant in London on Sunday 3 June.

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John Shaw, James Seed and Lewis Arnold, who are volunteer crew members at the station in Ferry Road, Southsea, will be onboard the charity’s D-class and E-class inshore lifeboats during the pageant, helping to ensure that participants and spectators stay safe, and ready to respond if anyone needs assistance.

The Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant will see 1,000 vessels making their way along the River Thames through London, watched by thousands of spectators and millions around the world. It is set to be the largest flotilla in modern times on the River Thames, with boats of all shapes and sizes stretching for an estimated 12.5 miles.

One of the boats taking part in the flotilla is the RNLI’s newest £2.7M Tamar-class lifeboat – to be named Diamond Jubilee in honour of the charity’s Patron, Her Majesty The Queen. The new lifeboat will be stationed at Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat station, and ready for active service at the end of June. Its participation in the prestigious royal event coincides with the final part of Eastbourne RNLI crew’s training and familiarisation with their new lifeboat. On the day of the Pageant, the crew onboard Diamond Jubilee will represent Eastbourne station, and the different countries and islands of the British Isles where the RNLI saves lives at sea.

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family will be onboard the Royal Barge, The Spirit of Chartwell – the focal point of the flotilla.

Lewis Arnold said: ‘It’s a real honour to be involved in the RNLI presence on the day of the pageant, and we’re delighted we will have such a front seat view of the action.’

Allen Head, RNLI Training Divisional Inspector (East), said: ‘I am delighted that John, James and Lewis from Portsmouth will be part of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant, which celebrates the 60-year reign of RNLI Patron, The Queen. The RNLI has had lifeboats on the River Thames for more than a decade, so we have a wealth of experience and expertise.

‘The crews on the day will be a combination of coastal station volunteers and local Thames’ crews, which will provide the very best cover for Pageant participants and spectators alike. This prestigious spectacle is a once-in-a-lifetime event – and a wonderful way to celebrate the extraordinary commitment of The Queen as our Patron, our volunteers, and everyone who supports the RNLI.’

Eastbourne’s new Tamar-class all-weather lifeboat, Diamond Jubilee, replaces the current all-weather lifeboat, which is almost 20 years old. Most of the £2.7M lifeboat has been funded by two generous legacies and other local fundraising efforts, but the RNLI still needs to raise over £400,000 to make up the full cost.

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