Small boat in big city pageant

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
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A RESTORED ex-Whitby lifeboat is set to take part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames on 3 June.

The largest flotilla in living memory, stretching out over 12 miles, will gather on the river, and the William Riley will be among the fleet.

The 100-year-old former lifeboat is owned by the Whitby Historic Lifeboat Trust and will be crewed by local rowers and volunteer fund-raisers.

Coxswain Pete Thomson said: “We are extremely proud to have been selected for this wonderful Royal event.

“An enthusiastic team of rowers and volunteers, including members of Whitby Fisherlads Rowing Club, Ales Angels and local RNLI fund-raising supporters will be travelling down to London to proudly represent Whitby’s heritage at this prestigious event.

“Every vessel will proudly take its place in the flotilla alongside the Queen and other members of the Royal Family aboard the Royal barge, “The Spirit of Chartwell”.

“It will be a once in a lifetime moment for all of us aboard our historic lifeboat as part of this glorious moment in our rich history.”

The William Riley was stationed in Whitby between 1909 and 1931 and was involved in the rescue of the survivors from the Rohilla disaster in 1914.

The Gratitude, a former Whitby boat built in 1976 by David Wharton, will also take part in the pageant, as will the Humber sloop Spider T, which visited Whitby last year.

When it was commissioned, the Gratitude was intended as a floating museum piece designed to preserve the tradition of Yorkshire cobles, once a common sight on the Whitby coast.

Gratitude was purchased in 1995 by Alan Richmond, who relocated it to Scarborough and gave it a full refit.

The Spider T visited Whitby in August and is the last remaining Humber “super sloop”, a sail-powered cargo vessel built in 1926.

The vessel is owned by Mal Nicholson, who said: “I feel truly honoured that the Spider T has been chosen.

“She reflects the heritage of our region and is a testament to the ship-building skills on the Humber.”

Three boats applied for every available place and the lucky 1,000 will feature rowing boats, working boats and pleasure vessels dressed with streamers and Union flags.