New Pett Level lifeboat named after fundraising couple

(L-R) Rosemary Foster, High Sheriff of East Sussex Michael Foster, Margaret and John Pulfer SUS-170315-170020001
(L-R) Rosemary Foster, High Sheriff of East Sussex Michael Foster, Margaret and John Pulfer SUS-170315-170020001

A couple said they were honoured to have a lifeboat named after them to mark the thousands of pounds they have raised for the Pett Level crew.

High Sheriff of East Sussex Michael Foster led the naming ceremony for Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat‘s new, quicker lifeboat on Sunday (March 12).

High Sheriff of East Sussex Michael Foster led the naming ceremony for Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat's new vessel SUS-170315-170042001

High Sheriff of East Sussex Michael Foster led the naming ceremony for Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat's new vessel SUS-170315-170042001

Dozens gathered for the ceremony at the Pett Level boathouse, including representatives from the RNLI, coastguard and councillors.

The new rescue boat was named after Margaret and John Pulfer to thank them for the fundraising they have done for the crew in the past six years, raising more than £140,000.

“It’s an honour for the boathouse to do this for us,” John said.

“It’s a very proud thing to have a boat named after you and to have it blessed in that way.”

Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat chairman Steve Hill giving a speech at the naming ceremony for its new boat SUS-170315-170031001

Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat chairman Steve Hill giving a speech at the naming ceremony for its new boat SUS-170315-170031001

The high sheriff blessed the new boat by opening a bottle of champagne over it in the traditional fashion.

The lifeboat was bought from the money Margaret and John, of Channel Way, Fairlight, have helped to raise, which replaces their current 10-year-old boat.

The new edition has space for all the crew to sit down, increasing safety, and has all the gadgets they need on board such as GPS and radio, so it does not need to be handheld.

Rescue boat charity chairman Steve Hill sang the praises of both the new vessel, and the Pulfers for all their hard work.

“It’s a lot more convenient, it’s slightly bigger but it’s much faster which means our response times are better,” he said.

“It’s generally a much better boat for what we need.

“It was nice to have all the community there and I know John and Margaret were very, very honoured to have the boat named after them.”

The boats are replaced every 10 years and the Pulfer lifeboat, which is the larger of Pett Level’s two vessels, was acquired in autumn last year.

The independent lifeboat crew work with the RNLI at Rye Harbour and Hastings, as well as the coastguard, to help stricken vessels at sea and in maritime incidents.

John was awarded a British Empire Medal by Her Majesty The Queen last year for his fundraising efforts for the charity last year, and Steve said he and his wife deserve all the praise they get.

“Between him and his wife, Margaret does all the letter writing and ‘donkey’ work, they have raised more than £140,000 for us,” he said.

“That has paid for all the refurbishments at the boathouse, extensions and two boats, everything – it’s brilliant.”

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