Island Life Magazine Ltd October/November 2011 - Page 54

ON THE WATER New Dove ready to fly to the rescue There was a pleasant surprise for the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, Susie Sheldon, after she performed the naming ceremony of Sandown and Shanklin’s new Independent Inshore Lifeboat. After the champagne was splashed over ‘Dove 2’ by Susie, she was invited on board by coxswain Mark Birch to take part in a practice rescue exercise in Sandown Bay, and had no hesitation in accepting the offer. An accomplished sailor, who competes each year at Cowes Week, Susie was treated to several high-speed twists and turns in the bay before the ‘man overboard’ was rescued and brought back to dry land. The £30,000 needed to acquire the new lifeboat was raised in just two years through charitable donations, but the name ‘Dove 2’ has history Above top: Coxswain Mark Birch with High Sheriff Susie Sheldon on board. Above bottom: The new lifeboat is named by the High Sheriff. Right: Launched and ready for action. 54 www.visitislandlife.com stretching back well over a century. Coxswain Mark, who has been a member of the 17-strong Sandown and Shanklin Lifeboat crew for nearly 20 years, explained: “We chose the name ‘Dove 2’ because I am from Shanklin, and because of this work I am involved in, I love reading up on lifeboat stories. “I found a lot of history about a little boat called ‘Dove’ which worked off Shanklin from 1884 through to 1916. It was a rowing boat which was used as a lifeboat in Sandown Bay and was put into the water by the horses that pulled the carriages up and down the beach for the Victorians. It was an independent lifeboat, and the first one ever to operate in the bay, so I thought it would be very fitting if we called our new boat ‘Dove 2’.” He added: “We managed to