This weekend Staithes and Runswick RNLI’s popular annual Lifeboat Weekend will see exercises from two new arrivals in the RNLI’s life saving work on the Yorkshire coast.
Staithes' brand new state of the art £235,000 Atlantic 85 lifeboat Sheila & Dennis Tongue III will be showing off its pace with a top speed of 35 knots, the fastest in the RNLI fleet. And for the first time the new RNLI lifeguard team at Runswick Bay will be joining in the fun.
RNLI co-ordinator Colin Harrison says he is expecting up to 3,000 visitors to pack the foreshores of the picturesque neighbouring seaside villages to enjoy the attractions and displays laid on by the lifesaving charity over the weekend, he said: “It will be a great opportunity for everyone to see our superb new boat in action and welcome the lifeguards as a valuable new addition to the RNLI’s armoury.”
Subject to operational requirements, Saturday’s rescue exercises at Runswick (11am) and Staithes (2.45pm) will be supported by lifeboats from Whitby and Redcar, H.M. Coastguard teams from Staithes and Skinningrove and a Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopter from Humberside’s HM Coastguard base.
The weekend festivities are launched on Friday evening at Staithes with the famous Nightgown Parade, gathering on the Staith at 6pm. On Saturday the busy beach will feature demonstrations from the White Rose Canoe Club and dinghy sailing with the Runswick Bay Sailing Club.
The Coble and Keelboat Society are returning with one of the East Coast’s few remaining traditional sailing cobles. Stalls and attractions at both Staithes and Runswick include roulette, ladder and card games, a ‘test of strength’ bar, tombolas, bookstall and bric-a- brac. RNLI souvenirs and memorabilia will be on sale.
RNLI supporters will be joined by a ‘Rapid Relief Team’ of charity volunteers in providing a running barbeque on the Staith, supplemented by cake stalls, ice creams and tea and biscuits.
At 4pm Staithes Harbour will come alive with the furious splashes and soakings of the Raft Race. The Fancy Dress Parade then launches at 6pm. The entertainment continues with an extended set from the 20-strong Middlesbrough jazz and blues orchestra. Then, as darkness falls, the day climaxes with a massive fireworks display, set off on Staithes’ North Pier by the G2 fireworks team.
Festivities resume at Staithes at 11am on Sunday morning when crowds will pack the bridge and beckside vantage points for the annual duck race as 800 plastic yellow ducks are cheered down Roxby Beck to the finishing line at the lifeboat slipway.
Finally, the event closes on a poignant note with twin open-air services of thanksgiving at Runswick Bay (2.30pm) and Staithes (5.00 pm) lifeboat house, preceded by a concert at each by the North Skelton Band. With the local RNLI Lifeboat chaplain Rev. Alan Coates presiding, the congregation will sing the famous verses of ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’ and other seafarers’ hymns.
Lifeboat weekend co-ordinator Colin Harrison added: "We can promise all the family a great weekend at the seaside while demonstrating the vital work of the charity in saving lives at sea.
"Of course it wouldn’t be possible without the amazing generosity of the public and the local businesses that keep us operational and also the dedication and hard work of our crew members and shore helpers that make all the fun of the weekend happen."
7.00 pm Jazz Band on the Staith
7.30 pm nightgown Parade
Saturday, Runswick Bay
10.30 am Opening
11.00 am Lifeboat exercises in the bay
1.00 pm Barbeque and stalls
2.00 pm Opening Ceremony
2.45 pm Lifeboat Exercises at sea
4.00 pm Raft Race
6.00 pm Fancy Dress Parade
7.30 pm Live music on the Staith
10.00 pm Fireworks Display
Sunday, Runswick Bay
2.30 pm North Skelton Band
3.00 pm Service of Thanksgiving
11.00 am Great Duck Race down the Beck
5.00 pm North Skelton Band
5.30 pm Service of Thanksgiving