RNLI’s new lifeboat honours bard

Gilly Fergusson christens the new inshore life boat with a quaich of whisky..
Gilly Fergusson christens the new inshore life boat with a quaich of whisky..

Bard and boat were honoured together at the formal naming ceremony of Arbroath’s inshore lifeboat D-759 Robert Fergusson at the harbour on May 17.

A piper provided the background music for the ceremony as invited guests, members of the Arbroath volunteer lifeboat crew, RNLI officials and VIP’s gathered to watch.

Funding for the lifeboat was provided by Mr Andrew Ferguson, who has had a long association both with the RNLI and the lifeboat station at Arbroath.

The new lifeboat was named by Mr Ferguson’s daughter, Gilly, who ran the London Marathon in April to raise funds for the RNLI.

Miss Ferguson christened the new lifeboat with a quaich of whisky.

Mr Ferguson decided to honour the memory of Scotland’s great but tragic poet, Robert Fergusson, who died shortly after, allegedly, falling heavily down a flight of stairs in Edinburgh in 1774.

Robert Fergusson was one of the first Scottish poets to write in both Scots and English, and was the inspiration for Robbie Burns who commissioned and paid for a memorial headstone of his own design.

Mr Ferguson’s first involvement with Arbroath RNLI dates from 1992, exactly 200 years after Lionel Lukin, designer of the first lifeboat, had been Master.

In commemoration of Lukin’s pioneering designs, Mr Ferguson made the RNLI his charity of choice during his year of office as Master of one of the old City companies, the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers.

The money raised was used to fund Coachmakers of London, a D class inshore lifeboat which went on station at Arbroath in 1993.

In 2005 the replacement D class was launched at Arbroath, and named Duncan Ferguson in honour of Mr Ferguson’s father and in commemoration of the family’s origins in Perthshire.