Sarah Wollaston MP and Jake Moores, Chairman of the RNLI Dart Lifeboat Management Group, talking to some of the children of the crew.
The RNLI Visitor Centre on Dartmouth’s South Embankment was opened by Sarah Wollaston MP on Thursday 31 March 2016.
She was introduced by Stephanie Pavie, RNLI Public Engagement Manager, who also read out a message from Paul Boissier, Chief Executive of the RNLI. ‘I am sorry that I cannot be with you today to celebrate this milestone event for the community and the committed RNLI volunteers of Dartmouth. This Visitor Centre is a leap forward for our retail and visitor experience, enabling us to showcase the brave and courageous work of our lifesavers. This Centre is the first of its kind for the RNLI and will inspire and engage current and future RNLI supporters for many years to come. It was the volunteers of Dartmouth, Ed Featherstone, Tracey Lucas and their dedicated team, who first identified the need and they have worked hand in hand with Amanda Woods, our RNLI Visitor Experience manager, to make this happen. Thank you to you all, for everything you have done to make this idea a reality and for everything you do to support this life saving charity. Tracey Lucas, the volunteer Dartmouth Visitor Centre manager, was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Amanda Woods as a token of thanks for all the hours of work it had taken to get to this day and she in turn thanked her team, without whom none of this could have been achieved.
Sarah Wollaston had a preview visit around the Centre before meeting the volunteers and talking to the ‘Little Crew’; the children of the lifeboat crew who were watching the proceedings from within the Dart D class inshore lifeboat parked outside. She expressed a big ‘Thank you’ to all the RNLI volunteers, both at the Centre and at the Dart lifeboat station. She had found the Visitor Centre ‘remarkable’ and believes that everyone who visits will be safer for the experience.
The proceedings were drawn to a close by Jake Moores, Chairman of the RNLI Dart Lifeboat Management Group. He acknowledged the pivotal role Ed Featherstone had played by putting forward the idea to RNLI headquarters of creating a shop in Dartmouth. This Centre has become the result. ‘From small acorns great oak trees grow.’ Jake declared that it had been a great day for the Town and the RNLI. The volunteers were looking forward to many years of service, both at the Centre and at the lifeboat station.
Sarah Wollaston then cut the ribbon across the doorway and ushered in the many enthusiastic visitors and supporters who had come to take part in the celebration.
Dart D’Tales May 2016
Sarah Wollaston MP opening the new Visitor Centre, supported by Tracey Lucas, Volunteer Manager and Amanda Woods, RNLI Visitor Experience Manager.
Amanda Woods being interviewed for ITV Local News.