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The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, will formally name the new Dungeness lifeboat The Morrell.

By Sam Lennon

The Princess Royal will visit Dungeness to formally name the RNLI station’s new lifeboat.

Princess Anne will visit on Saturday to preside over the ceremony for The Morrell.

Princess Ann - will formally name the new Dungeness lifeboat.

Princess Ann - will formally name the new Dungeness lifeboat.

The £2 million vessel is the first of the RNLI’s new generation Shannon class vessels.

She was entirely funded by a legacy from Barbara Morrell, of Bromley, a staunch supporter of the RNLI. The vessel was named in memory of her, her late husband Stanley, here brother-in-law Cyril and her sister-in-law Patricia.

Mrs Morrell died in 2009 and the executor of her will, Jackie Simmons, will meet the Princess at the ceremony.

She said: “I was there on the beach with hundreds of supporters in February when The Morrell first arrived and she was a sight to behold.

I was really proud to see the results of my close friend’s legacy.

“I am sure Barbara would be delighted that Princess Anne will get to see the lifeboat in action.”

The Princess will also meet the volunteer lifeboat crew and fundraisers as well as watch demonstrations of The Morrell being launched, doing an exercise and then dramatically beaching on the shore.

The new Dungeness lifeboat The Morrell - being formally named by the Princess Royal.

The new Dungeness lifeboat The Morrell - being formally named by the Princess Royal.

The Morrell is capable of 25 knots, making her 50% faster than her Mersey class predecessor.

She also has hulls made to minimise slamming in heavy seas and her shock-absorbing seats protect crews from impact when powering through waves.

The 18-tonne vessel can land directly on a beach and launch from one, saving more time to reach casualties.

The Morrell first arrived at Dungeness Lifeboat Station on February 21, greeted by hundreds of supporters on the beach.

She completely replaced her predecessor, Pride and Spirit, on March 8.

Her first callout was on March 14 for a fishing boat in difficulty off Dungeness. That simply involved the crew repairing the boat’s steering before it was allowed to carry on.

Her oddest shout was to a Marie Celeste-style mystery on April 1 when an empty two-man dinghy was found drifting off Dengemarsh.

Searches took place to ensure nobody was in the water and it was thought the vessel may have broken its moorings during that winter’s storms.

But that would have meant the vessel was drifting for weeks and there was no idea where it had come from.

Three days later The Morrell helped a 42ft yacht sailing from Dover to Eastbourne, with two people on board and had gearbox failure.

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