The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Cllr Richard Smart, attended a ceremony on 01 March 2019 to mark the completion of a shelter over the historic lifeboat Sir Samuel Kelly.
The lifeboat, which stands in the Copelands Marina car park in Donaghadee, has an iconic status locally because of its role in rescuing survivors from the Princess Victoria tragedy in 1953.
It was acquired by the Council from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in 2017 and has been placed in the care of the Donaghadee Heritage Preservation Company, a not-for-profit charitable company formed by local volunteers.
The Chair of the Company, Kenneth Walsh, said:
“This marks the completion of the first phase of the Company’s strategic plan. Phase One was to place a cover over the lifeboat to protect it and allow it to dry out. Phase Two is to restore the boat to its 1953 state and bring it up to exhibition condition. Phase Three is to build a Heritage Centre for Donaghadee in which the lifeboat can have pride of place.
“We are grateful to the Council for entrusting the boat to the Company on a 25-year lease and granting us a 5-year lease of the land on which the boat stands. Last summer the Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Company confirming its support for the project and pledging to work together on it.
“But the main vote of thanks today has to be to the dozens of volunteers and local businesses that have helped the Company raise more than £20,000 over the past couple of years to bring us to the present point. It is a remarkable achievement for the community in Donaghadee, and the Company promises that it will press on with its efforts to bring the entire scheme to fruition.”