Launch of Spirit of West Wight V new lifeboat at Freshwater

By Mal Butler Jul 9, 2024
Launch of Spirit of West Wight V new lifeboat at Freshwater

Freshwater Independent Lifeboat’s new £180,000 state-of-the-art Atlantic 85 was named in a ceremony in Freshwater Bay on Saturday.

Several hundred people turned out for the ceremony, which Jason Fox, ‘Foxy’ from the television series ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’, attended, with his wife, Jules, who poured champagne over the boat’s bow, naming it ‘The Jillian Scott: Spirit of the Wight V’.

Jason gave an amusing speech on his various visits to the Island from the age of 10, but finished on a serious note saying: “This independent lifeboat station is not just here to save lives. It gives people the opportunity to learn new skills, to become confident working as part of a team and allows them to be more confident and sociable when they go out and about.

“It also gives them the opportunity to do various courses which could help them in later life. It supports the community in more ways than you can imagine.”

The crowd was entertained by Bay Wailers and Brass Monkeys, and Rev Lisa Potter blessed the crew before the naming ceremony.

The event was organised by FILB chairman, Barry Sales, with coxswain, Tony Moore, adding: “We’re really looking forward to using the boat, but it’s thanks to the community spirit which has created this throughout.

“I’d like to thank everyone for coming; I’m so proud. I got a real buzz from the day – more than the buzz I got when I attended a recent King’s Garden Party! I’d also like to thank Barry for all his hard work in organising the day.”

Major sponsors, including the late Jillian Scott, are WightAID, Val Smith, Malcolm and Cheryl Prentice of MTMS, Classic Cottages and Jewsons.