The new Atlantic 85 was named Robina Nixon Chard after Mrs Robina Chard who left a bequest to fund a lifeboat in Cornwall. Robina lived in Falmouth and passed away in March 2012. Robina loved Cornwall. She had great respect for the sea, its beauty and its ferocity and danger. Her husband Bernard did a great deal of work to support the RNLI in his lifetime. Bernard and Robina both admired the bravery, dedication and commitment of those serving on the Lifeboats. They were both volunteer fundraisers. If there was a collection tin to be proffered or a raffle ticket to be sold, they were both always happy to help.
To accommodate the new, larger lifeboat, the lifeboat station in Falmouth has undergone some alterations and upgrades which have been funded through an appeal in which the local community raised over £130,000. Since the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat’s arrival in Falmouth, the crew have kept this crucial piece of kit busy. Sea trials and involvement in a number of vital assistance given to members of the public, have put the new lifeboat through it’s paces.
With the highest speed reaching 35 knots, it is faster than the recently retired lifeboat Eve Pank, an Atlantic 75, which can reach up to 32 knots. It is also bigger and can accommodate an extra crew member, being nearly a metre longer, 20cm wider and 12cm deeper.
Members of the family attended the traditional naming ceremony to celebrate Robina’s wish being fulfilled. This involved the singing of the national anthem, followed by a welcome address from Chris Price, Falmouth Lifeboat Management Chairman.
Faye Taggart-White and Nina Kitcher, Robina Nixon Chard’s great-nieces then handed the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI, accepted by David Page (Lifesaving Manager, South West), before the inshore lifeboat was accepted by Jon Blakeston, Falmouth Coxswain, on behalf of the station. After a service of dedication from Reverend Canon Andrew J Stephenson, the station Chaplain, Elliot Holman, Senior ILB Helm, invited Faye and Nina to name the lifeboat with the traditional pouring of champagne over the boat’s hull..
Bernard Fox, former Chairman and Vice Chairman of Falmouth Lifeboat Station then delivered a Vote of Thanks and closed the proceedings. The lifeboat then launched from the slipway and pasties and cream teas were served.
“We know Robina would have loved to have been here today – to see the result of her legacy. A legacy that will benefit the lifesavers she so admired, for years to come, particularly as it was her wish that it will be benefiting her beloved Falmouth. It’s a special day for everyone who knew her.” Written by Ian and Norman Taggart, nephews of Robina Nixon Chard, read by Faye Taggart-White and Nina Kitcher, Robina Nixon Chard’s great-nieces.
Jonathon Blakeston, Falmouth RNLI Coxswain said:
‘Eve Pank has been a superb lifeboat, loved by the volunteer crew who have launched her on service 661 times during her 12 years at Falmouth. She’ll be greatly missed, however we’re very excited to be welcoming our new Atlantic 85 lifeboat and the volunteer crew can’t wait to start their new chapter of lifesaving with the Robina Nixon Chard.’
With thanks to Bryher’s Boys for the musical performances, Pips Pasties for the food, Pendennis Marina for facilitating the event, Falmouth Docks for providing parking and to local business Andyloos for their generous offer of public toilets for the opening ceremony guests free of charge.