A historic lifeboat took to the air yesterday after more than 60 years of braving stormy seas.
A crane swung the Tyne lifeboat back into its public display location near South Shields seafront after six months of restoration.
The work was carried out at the workshops of the town’s North East Maritime Trust, which has also restored the protective cast iron canopy above the lifeboat at its display site.
What is the world’s second oldest lifeboat in existence was built in 1833.
It served the town and the Tyne for more than 60 years and saved 1,028 lives.
The boat was placed on public display at South Shields seafront in 1894 as a permanent reminder of the skill and bravery of the men of the Tyne Lifeboat Institution.
The renovation programme was made possible with help from South Tyneside Council’s Riverside Community Area Forum and delivered by a team of 30 volunteers from the North East Maritime Trust.
The lifeboat was lifted by crane back into place at the vessel’s permanent home in Pier Parade, South Shields, near Haven Point, the town’s new swimming pool and leisure complex. Audrey McMillan, vice-chairman of the council’s foreshore steering group and a ward councillor for Beacon and Bents at South Tyneside Council, said: “We are very proud of our rich heritage in South Shields, in particular the Tyne lifeboat, which is why the renovation programme was such an important project to make a reality.
“The commitment and hard work by the council and the North East Maritime Trust has reinvigorated a symbolic regional and international piece of maritime heritage.
“The investment of time, research and craftsmanship will be enjoyed by residents and visitors to South Shields for many years to come and beautifully complements all of the regeneration work being delivered across the town.”
Tim West, trust director, said: “Working on the Tyne Lifeboat has been a fascinating experience and a real honour, not just for me personally, but for the 30 volunteers who worked tirelessly on the project.
“To lovingly renovate a boat with this much historical significance is a privilege, as she is a massive part of South Shields’ maritime history - a subject matter that is really close to the trust’s heart.”
After finishing touches are carried out, an official launch event for the restored boat will be held on February 28, after which the vessel will be lit at night.