The volunteer lifeboat crew based in Port William were beaming with pride on Saturday as their state-of-the -art new boatshed and community cafe were offically opening by the Lord Lieutenant of Wigtownshire, John Ross.
The ribbon cutting ceremony on the Harbour Green was followed by the blessing of the boat, PIRSAC III, by the Rev. Joyce Harvey and its launch into the waters of Luce Bay, where it was immediately called into action after getting an alert from Belfast coastguard to attend an emergency at Garlieston Harbour, where a yacht had capsized with two people on board. Thankfully, the two on the yacht had been rescued by local boat owners and the yacht was towed back to harbour by local fisherman. Also involved in the rescue were Ballantrae CRT, Drummore CRT and the Kirkcudbright lifeboat.
Meanwhile, back on the village green emergency services vehicles were in attendance alongside craft stalls, pipers and free ice cream for kids. There was also live music to entertain the large crowd.
Invited guests attended a buffet in the community cafe, The View, after the ceremony.
PIRSAC spokesperson George McKenzie, who has led the project to get a modern rescue craft and regenerate the harbour, spoke of the history of the volunteer lifeboat.
Tony Wood MBE, who was Solway Sector Manager for Her Majesty’s Coastguard from 1978 until he retired in 2007 said: “PIRSAC has now, for almost 40 years, filled a massive gap in our coastline. PIRSAC has over the years not only saved lives, but also prevented many more minor accidents escalating into major incidents. You have supported the Police and assisted in flooding. Commercial vessels, fishing vessels, aircraft, pleasure craft and holidaymakers - have all benefitted from your operational service over the years. Dumfries and Galloway is a safer place for your continued support to HMCG.”
PIRSAC Director Helen Oxley said, “We were honoured to have The Lord Lieutenant John Ross CBE cut the ribbon for us. The event went as smoothly as a military operation which I can only thank Pirsac members, The View staff and helpers for.”