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Princess Anne to visit Dungeness lifeboat station and name RNLI vessel The Morrell

By Sam Lennon

The Princess Royal is visiting Dungeness today to name the RNLI station's new lifeboat.

Princess Anne is presiding over the ceremony for The Morrell.

The £2million vessel is the first of the RNLI's new generation of Shannon-class lifeboats.

Princess Anne on a former visit to Kent

She was funded entirely by a legacy from Barbara Morrell, a staunch supporter of the RNLI.

The vessel was named in memory of her, her late husband Stanley, her 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.

"I am sure Barbara would be delighted that Princess Anne will get to see the lifeboat in action..." - Jackie Simmons

She said: "I was there on the beach with hundreds of supporters when The Morrell 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 beaching on the shore.

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.

New Dungeness lifeboat The Morrell is being formally named by Princess Anne

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

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

Her first call-out was on March 14 for a fishing boat in difficulty off Dungeness. That operation saw the crew repair the boat's steering before it was allowed to carry on.

Her strangest call out 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 the winter 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 with gearbox failure. The yacht was sailing from Dover to Eastbourne and had two people on board .

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