THE ARBROATH branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution received a major financial boost on Saturday when the organisers and producers of the recent ‘Follow the Light’ show in the Webster Memorial Theatre donated their fees of £1,000 to the station.
The show, part of Arbroath’s Year of the Light celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse coming into operation, was organised and produced by Edwina Barraclough, James Hutcheson and Garry Mitchell who decided that they would donated their fee to the lifeboat.
Edwina has a strong family connection with the lifeboat and recalled that her mother had lost two cousins in the ‘Robert Lindsay’ tragedy in 1953, when the boat capsized as it returned to harbour. All but one of the crew perished.
She remembered with pride that her great grandfather David Swankie was the second coxswain of the ‘James Stevens’ which saved the crew of the German schooner ‘Gesine’ in very difficult conditions when it was wrecked off Westhaven in 1905.
He was one of three senior crew members to receive a specially engraved silver watch from Kaiser Wilhelm II in recognition of their bravery. The Kaiser also gifted £20, a major sum in those days, for the lifeboat crew.
After a very difficult rescue in very stormy conditions the lifeboat crew had given their own clothing to the five German seamen to keep them warm during the journey back to Arbroath.
The ‘James Steven’ was later wrecked outside Arbroath harbour in 1925 when the skiff ‘Dutiful’ was swamped with the loss of two lives.
James revealed that the proceeds of the ‘Follow the Light’ show will be distributed to local charities in January.