Lifeboat disaster: Plans to turn former lifeboat house at Rye Harbour into a museum in memory of those who perished in UK’s greatest lifeboat disaster

Mary Stanford Lifeboat House SUS-181115-124738001
Mary Stanford Lifeboat House SUS-181115-124738001

The lifeboat house at Rye Harbour from which the ill-fated Mary Stanford lifeboat set sail on November 15 1928 is the subject of a restoration plan to create a memorial and museum.

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The lifeboat house was decommissioned after the disaster, which saw the Mary Stanford lifeboat capsize while answering a distress call, with the loss of all 17 crew members, and was never used again for its purpose.

The loss of the Mary Stanford remains the greatest disaster in the history of the RNLI

Now the Friends of the Mary Stanford Lifeboat House are working on restoring it as a memorial.

Jacqueline Stanford, from the Friends, said: “The plans to restore this Grade II listed building, now owned by the Friends, have been drafted and the conservation builders are now in place.

“The final step is to raise the additional funding which is being sought.

“Over £21,000 has been raised through the Friends and other donations, but a further £100,000 is sought.

“Let’s hope that this dream of the restoration and the setting up of a Museum to the crewmen and their story of sacrifice can be achieved long before the 100th anniversary. On Sunday at 3pm, during a poignant service at Rye Harbour, candles will be lit for each man and roses laid on their names at the base of the fitting memorial that was built following the disaster.

Jacqueline said: “It is truly moving each year to see a packed church reminding us that they are not forgotten and that this service has become the most important act of remembrance each year in Rye Harbour.

“Their loss decimated the village of Rye Harbour and fractured the lives of their loved ones who never recovered from the loss.”

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