The RNLB Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan

The Girvan lifeboat crew has put their new Shannon class boat through its paces.
The Girvan lifeboat crew has put their new Shannon class boat through its paces.

The sun shone on Girvan harbour on Saturday afternoon as the crowds gathered to see the new lifeboat officially named RNLB Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan on what would have been Gertrude’s 91st birthday.

The new Shannon class lifeboat was joined in Girvan harbour by lifeboats from Troon and Portpatrick to mark the occasion, the naming carried out by a representative of the Allan family trust, Alan Reid.

The John & Elizabeth Allan Memorial Trust was set up in 1998 by Professor James Allan in memory of his parents.

So far the trust has fully funded two Shannon class all-weather lifeboats and two Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboats and continues to support the RNLI.

Professor Allan decided to name Girvan’s lifeboat, RNLB Elizabeth & Gertrude Allan, after his late sisters. Gertrude was born on May 5, 1927 so would have been 91 on the day of the naming ceremony.

Professor Allan’s interest in the RNLI began as a child when his parents started taking holidays in Fraserburgh. He visited the harbour, saw the lifeboat and met the lifeboat crew.

When they returned the following year he was delighted to discover that the crew remembered him and his father.

His passion for the RNLI grew from there and he started reading reports about the bravery of the crews in their attempts to save the lives of others. It encouraged him to want to help these men and women, and he decided that if he ever had the means, he would do his utmost to provide funding to the RNLI.

Speaking about the new £2.1m water-jet powered Shannon class lifeboat, mechanic/coxswain Callum Govus said: “The new boat is faster and more manoeuvrable than the Silvia Burrell and the way she handles is very impressive.

“All this means that we’ll be able to reach casualties more quickly.

“This is a huge leap forward in lifeboat design and will allow us to continue to do our work knowing that we couldn’t have a better lifeboat to go to sea with.”

Lifeboat operations manager John Gourlay added: ‘We’re very grateful to Professor Allan for funding our new lifeboat which will ensure that our volunteers can go to sea safely, in a state of the art lifeboat, for many years to come.”

The RNLI names the different classes of boats it has used over the years after rivers and stretches of water and this latest design the Shannon class is the first to be named after an Irish river.