Baptism takes place on Cowes lifeboat

A rare if not unique event in the annuls of RNLI history occurred at Cowes
lifeboat station today (Saturday) when there was a baptism aboard its Atlantic
85 lifeboat.

Baptised was Freya, the two-year-old daughter of Alisdair and Heather Boden, who
had been members of the lifeboat for the past eight years but were about to move
home to the Lake District. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev Andrew Poppe,
who as well as being vicar of St Mary’s Church in the town is also the station’s

Members of the lifeboat and Alisdair and Heather’s family and friends gathered on
the balconies of the station and adjoining Island Sailing Club to watch the
proceedings. When the moment came for the actual baptism the Rev Poppe took
Freya in his arms and used water from a bowl that had been placed into a lifeboat helmet.
Freya’s parents were joined on the lifeboat deck by a five-year-old niece, Faith
Duncan, and the station’s Operations Manager, Mark Southwell; closely watching
from the slipway were the two Godparents, Natalie Foster and Harry Leslie, a Deputy
Launch Authority at the station.

To mark the event’s conclusion the Rev Poppe lit a candle and declared: “Freya, you
have received the light of Christ, walk in this light all the days of your life.”

After resounding applause everyone adjourned to the Island Sailing Club for a buffet
lunch. Alisdair, who has a new digital marketing job in Keswick, said: “We have loved
our time in Cowes and the RNLI has been a massive part of it.

“As there is much talk of the ‘RNLI family’ we thought it would be nice farewell to our
involvement with the lifeboat by having Freya baptised on it.”

He revealed that although there was no RNLI station in the Keswick area he was tempted to become a volunteer with the local mountain rescue.

The Rev Poppe said he could find no record of a baptism taking place on an RNLI inshore lifeboat before, although there had been at least one on an all-weather lifeboat.