William Riley


Whitby Fundraising Row Gallery - One

The topography of Staithes restricted me from going to see the William Riley off on the final leg of what has been a challenging venture. The leg from Staithes to Whitby is without doubt the climax to what has been something those caring for the William Riley will struggle to beat.

For reason's best known to himself the ex chairman chose to leave the lifeboat enthusiast behind at Staithes, which is somewhat strange as without him the William Riley might never have been rescued and restored? The enthusiast managed to hitch a lift out on a passing pleasure cruiser that was willing to transfer him and his partner to the William Riley, Just as well really as they had tried in vain to request a ride on the present serving lifeboat of all things, even though it was lifeboat weekend one cannot expect to behest a transfer on a serving RNLI lifeboat?

The shipping forecast and inshore forecasts promised a difficult end to the challenge and it delivered as much. With conditions at Staithes looking ominous and the possibility of the former lifeboat leaving the small harbour looking precarious it looked as though the fundraising row was going to stumble at the final hurdle! Had conditions prevented the boat from leaving it would have been a huge disappointment especially to the Ales Angels who have given it everything they could.

I have a good relationship with Barry Sneddon the owner of the Mary Ann Hepworth another of Whitby's ex lifeboats. my family and are were allowed the opportunity of going out on the boat as part of the small flotilla escorting the William Riley into Whitby harbour. The 'Mary Ann' was due to play an integral part in the annual lifeboat weekend as a disabled boat being towed back into Whitby by the present all weather lifeboat "George & Mary Webb". Straight afterwards he brought the boat over  to the bandstand for us to board.

As we left the safe confines of Whitby harbour it soon became apparent that there was a 2 -3 metre swell and took comfort from being aboard the Mary Ann Hepworth, a boat with a brave history of its own. We had not gotten far before we could see the outline of the William Riley even if it did keep dipping from view into the trough of a wave. Once we closed on the boat we made a number of passes around it so that everyone could get their own photographs, not an easy feat on boat that was pitching and rolling in a severe swell. The rowers took advantage of a short break to muster the strength needed to make its way across the harbour entrance bar.

The First Glimpse
Whitby Abbey Background
Well Earned Rest
End In Sight
Final Push
Eric Taylor

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