The Tamar-class lifeboat Mollie Hunt is named after Mrs Evelyn Mary Hunt, who left a generous gift in her will for the RNLI. The late Mrs Hunt, known affectionately by friends and family as Mollie, was a proud Devonian, and came from Budleigh Salterton in Devon.
The Mollie Hunt is of the very latest in lifeboat design. She has a top speed of 25 knots giving a vastly improved response time on that of the existing lifeboat at Appledore, and boasts new safety features including an advanced seat design to reduce stress on the backs of the volunteer crew members when they are at sea. New onboard computer controls mean remote management of many of the lifeboats functions and better task sharing amongst the crew.
After making provision for various nieces and nephews, at the suggestion of her friend, Mr Robert Unwin, a very keen yachtsman, her residuary estate was left to the RNLI for the provision of a lifeboat for Devon. Sadly, she passed away in September 1998 and Appledore’s new Tamar received this bequest, which totalled just over £1.3 million.
Appledore RNLI's Tamar will be the fifth one to go on station in the south west. Two are already operational in Padstow, Cornwall and Salcombe, Devon, with a third arriving on station in St Helier, Channel Islands this spring and at Sennen Cove, Cornwall at the end of the year.
The RNLI also received a share of the late Mr Sidney Llewellyn Morgan’s residuary estate, in excess of £500,000, in memory of his wife Thelma. Mr Morgan came from Crediton, Devon and passed away in May 2007. Mr Morgan was a life governor of the RNLI and had made several donations to Appledore during his lifetime. Thelma and Sidney Morgan also part funded new crew facilities at the Appledore lifeboat station.
The RNLI has currently received in excess of £350,000 from the estate of the late Mr Gordon Charles George Philo, CMG, MC, intelligence officer and writer, bequeathed specifically for Appledore lifeboat station, in memory late wife Mavis Ella Philo’s grandparents, Arthur and Harriet Galsworthy.
Arthur Galsworthy was associated with the lifeboat at Appledore before the Second World War and as a child, Mrs Philo was impressed by the wives of those who risked their lives in the lifeboat service. Mr and Mrs Philo came from London and passed away in January 2009 and September 1986.
To celebrate the memory of their son, Duncan, Mr and Mrs Michael Wyatt, keen friends and supporters of the RNLI, have donated the permanently inflated Y boat, together with propulsion and steering equipment on Mollie Hunt.
The MV Hillhouse Trust has helped fund some of the electronics on board. Many smaller gifts from various Trusts and personal donations have also helped to fund the new Tamar lifeboat, Mollie Hunt, as well as monies raised both by Appledore RNLI crew and fund raising guild.
The main improvements over the Tyne class are:
- The Tamar has a length of 16 metres, the Tyne 14 metres.
- The Tamar can reach casualties faster – it has a top speed of 25 knots.
- Better equipped: the Tamar class carries a powered ‘Y boat’, which is a larger and more powerful inflatable than the manually propelled ‘X boat’ carried on board a Tyne. The Y-boat is stored behind a transom door that allows immediate deployment whereas the X-boat was stowed below in a deflated state.
- The Tamar has even more safety features: during rough weather, research shows that some accidents could be prevented if crew remain sitting, rather than moving around the lifeboat. The Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) allows the crew to control many of the on-board functions without leaving their seats.
- Improved ergonomics: a faster speed means greater physical loadings on the crew as the lifeboat crashes through waves; the new seat design will significantly reduce the impact of these loadings on the crew.