RNLI & other work

Lucy Lavers' launch © Aldeburgh Museum, Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Photo: Aldeburgh Museum

Lucy Lavers served as the RNLI's Lifeboat No. 2 at Aldeburgh for 19 years. 

After this she became part of the relief Lifeboat fleet at Wells-next-the-Sea, Sheringham, and other East Coast ports. David Hewitt, one of the boat-builders restoring Lucy Lavers, has managed to piece together some of her lifeboat service history see film

During her time as a lifeboat, Lucy Lavers was called out thirty times at Aldeburgh and fifty-two times as a relief vessel. Her Wells RNLI coxswain, David Cox and Graham Walker describe her service from Wells-next-the-Sea, her performance, and using her under sail see film.

Lucy Lavers as l'esperance. Image: Ian Moignard

In 1968 Lucy Lavers retired from the RNLI, and became a pilot boat in the Channel Island port of St. Helier, Jersey, where she was renamed L'Esperance. Subsequently she was a private fishing boat and in 1986 she was bought by the Dive and Ski Club of St. Helier. During the tourist season, she provided around four hundred trainees with practical experience on a training course from the bays of St. Aubin, St. Brelade and Portelet, as well as the Island of Sark. In 1997 she was retired and largely stripped for the restoration of another lifeboat, but the double diagonal mahogany hull, which was in good condition, was kept.

Lucy Lavers was tracked down by David Hewitt and Graeme Peart, who had been looking for her for some while because of their interest in her local service. David Hewitt first learned of Lucy Lavers by talking with some of the men who had served on her when she was a relief lifeboat at Wells next the Sea; David Cox, Coxswain, Tony Jordan and Alan Cooper.

She had been sold out of RNLI service and as of 2000, her whereabouts were unknown. Subsequently, David heard Lucy Lavers was at Husband’s Yard, Marchwood in Southampton. David and Graeme Peart decided to try to find her, but when they visited Marchwood in the summer of 2006 they found Husband’s Yard was no longer in existence. It seemed likely that Lucy Lavers had been scrapped, or burned on site, when the yard closed.

David thought nothing more of it for a few years but then learnt through the RNLI Lifeboat Enthusiasts' Society that Lucy Lavers had survived in the care of the Dunkirk Little Ship Restoration Trust. In 2010, its trustees kindly donated Lucy Lavers to the individuals who formed the charity Rescue Wooden Boats, with the intention she be restored and used.

Lucy Lavers before restoration

 Photo: Rescue Wooden Boats