Old Mary suffers a breakdown

Whitby Lifeboat the George and Mary Webb towing old lifeboat Mary Ann Hepworth

Whitby Lifeboat the George and Mary Webb towing old lifeboat Mary Ann Hepworth

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WHITBY’S old lifeboat, which saved 201 lives during its years of distinguished service, had to be rescued itself when it got into difficulty on Tuesday (17 May).

The Mary Ann Hepworth, which now runs pleasure trips out of Whitby harbour, broke down near Whitby bell buoy, about a mile out to sea, at around 3pm.

Whitby Lifeboat the George and Mary Webb towing old lifeboat Mary Ann Hepworth

Whitby Lifeboat the George and Mary Webb towing old lifeboat Mary Ann Hepworth

Boat owner Barry Sneddon said: “It was the last trip of the day and as we leave the harbour I always joke ‘there’s Whitby’s new lifeboat, if anything goes wrong we will get a free ride on it’, and blow me we broke down.”

The old boat was towed back into Whitby Harbour by the new lifeboat, the George and Mary Webb, and the problem was found to be with the steering.

Mr Sneddon added: “We were so embarrassed but the passengers thought it was marvellous.

“We have been running for 26 years and it’s the first time we have had to be rescued.”

Spare parts were ordered for the old lifeboat and it should be back in business today (20 May).

The Mary Ann Hepworth was state-of-the-art when she was launched in 1938 and she went on to become one of the longest serving RNLI boats in the fleet, before retiring in 1974.

She was purchased by Barry Sneddon in 1988 and he returned her home and restored her to her original lifeboat colours.

*Whitby’s offshore lifeboat was also called out yesterday morning to rescue a stricken fishing boat.

The Silver Lining had problems with its fuel propeller at around 5am and was towed back into Whitby harbour by the George and Mary Webb.