Tuesday 24th April 2012
A family associated with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution since the 1800s has funded a £1.5 million all--weather lifeboat for the charity.
Dedicated volunteer Joel Grunnill MBE left a legacy to support the work of the charity in Skegness. His generous donation was topped up by his cousin April Grunnill to meet the total cost of the new Shannon class lifeboat.
The new boat will be named the Joel and April Grunnill and is expected to be in operation from 2016. It will replace the RNLI's Mersey class lifeboat, the Lincolnshire Poacher.
April said: "Members of the Grunnill family served on the lifeboat from the early 1800s and Joel was the last of the family to do so. I know he would be thrilled that the family's connection with the RNLI in Skegness will continue for many years to come in the form of this new lifeboat."
Joel was a life-long RNLI volunteer. He helped collect money for the charity as a small child and served as a lifeboatman for 45 years, joining the crew at the age of 15 at the start of the Second World War. He later became second coxswain, holding the position for 33 years and helping to save 197 people.
Joel, who was awarded an MBE for services to the RNLI in 2008, went on to become the Skegness Lifeboat Station honorary secretary and then chairman until his death in May 2011, at the age of 86.
April has also been heavily involved with the charity. As an RNLI box secretary she empties and counts donations from 200 RNLI collection boxes in and around Skegness. She has collected £200,000 for the charity.
Alan Fisher, Skegness RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: "The new lifeboat will be a fitting legacy of a man who was devoted to the RNLI.
"Every time the volunteer crew go to sea, I know they will be thinking of Joel and all the help and support he gave them over the years. He was a quiet man but had a wealth of knowledge and experience which he was always willing to share with the crew. Our grateful thanks go out to both him and April for this wonderful gift. The Shannon class lifeboat is a new generation of RNLI vessel, quite different from our current lifeboat."
The Shannon has been designed in-house by RNLI naval architects. It is currently undergoing sea trials and the first operational Shannon class lifeboat will go into service next year.