Saturday, 1 April 2017

Two Farewells.

Our cruise entry would not be complete without a photo of our two wonderful table waiters Arvin and Franky. With their dedication and humour they added enormously to our dining experience each evening, but so too did ………
……. our dining friends Anita and Alan. With Franky and Arvin attending us it was a joyous couple of hours we all spent together. The ‘farewell’ at the end of the cruise is always softened by the fact that we shall meet again no doubt.
Oh, yes – our lovely friend Dolreich (who was wine-waiting very close to us) didn’t want to be left out. He often came over for a laugh and a chat as most of his customers were “a bit quiet”!
Our early disembarkation went very smoothly and our friend, and crew member, Laurie gave us a lift home. He stayed for a quick coffee before heading off.
Back home in Selsey we were able to take part in another sad farewell - that of our lovely old Lifeboat station. The crowds began to gather just before 11 o’ clock on April 1st ………
……… for the last launch of the lifeboat from the old station.
More and more people arrived for the big event and began to fill our, usually very peaceful, beach.
Bang on the appointed hour the 47ft Tyne Class lifeboat slid speedily down the ramp ……..
…….. and, with the usual spray of water, 57 years of launching from the iconic boathouse came to an end.
After settling in the water for a few seconds …….
…….. the “Voluntary Worker” powered up it’s engines for a victory ‘fly past’.
The pilot showed off the boats marvellous manoeuvrability.
Then it slowed down for a graceful passing, close to shore, when the crowds could show their appreciation for these wonderful brave people who regularly risk their own lives at sea to save others.
The mantle of life saving by the Selsey RNLI now passes to the brand new land based Lifeboat Station which now awaits its brand new (Shannon class) lifeboat.
In the meantime “Voluntary Worker” will stay at anchor just off the shore and remain operational until the new boat arrives later in the year. It will be reached by the smaller inshore lifeboats.
The public were allowed to visit the old station for the last time. For 57 years this building has served the RNLI but now stands empty.
The massive winching mechanism, used to haul the lifeboat back into the shed, will undoubtedly be sold on to winch in some other place.
The slipway, sadly, will not see another boat.
“Voluntary Worker” now lies off the shore and waiting for her next call out – which is sure to happen.
It was great to get some photos of the beach from the station. This is looking towards the “Bill” of Selsey Bill and ……….
…….. in the other direction we look towards the East Beach end of Selsey and beyond that Pagham.
A picture for posterity!
The gangway from the shore to the station building is 120 yards long.
Bolted to the handrail of the gangway is the original holder for the mortars which, when let off, sounded a load bang to call the volunteer lifeboat crew to an emergency. 
A great view of the station building and the lifeboat lying at anchor.
The crowds turned out in huge numbers to say ‘thank you’ and ‘farewell’ to a famous landmark and to welcome it’s successor which will undoubtedly continue to support the sterling service carried out by Selsey Lifeboat Volunteers.

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