Montrose’s new jet-powered all-weather lifeboat was officially named and welcomed as part of the town’s fleet at a special ceremony on Saturday.
The RNLB Ian Grant Smith is the burgh’s 13th lifeboat and the first Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Shannon-class vessel to be stationed in Scotland.
The cost of the lifeboat was generously bequeathed to the RNLI by Ruth Grant Smith who died in 2005. She had left money to the RNLI to fund an all-weather lifeboat based in Scotland, which was to be named after her husband, Ian Grant Smith.
The couple’s niece, Margaret Osborne, handed over the lifeboat to the RNLI at a special ceremony on Saturday.
During the ceremony, RNLI deputy chairman Sir Andrew Cubie said: “We are immensely grateful for the generous donation of this lifeboat by Ruth Grant Smith.
“It is always a privilege to receive such an outstanding donation on behalf of the RNLI.
“It is with enormous pleasure that I am able to transfer the boat to the care of Montrose Lifeboat Station.”
Mrs Grant Smith was the eldest of four sisters and lived in the family home in Northwich, Cheshire, in the 1930s.
While she was at college in London, the opportunity arose to go on a cruise. Also on that cruise was a lawyer from Edinburgh, Ian Grant Smith.
Over the voyage the two met, and it was not long before they were wed and living in Edinburgh, where they stayed until Ian retired.
During retirement, they moved back to Ian’s childhood town of Cromdale and lived a simple life – holidays at the Kyle of Lochalsh, fishing, hunting and walking their dogs, cocker spaniels Jock and Rory.
Every year, the highlight of their social calendar was New Year’s Eve – the day of their annual party in aid of the RNLI, a charity they supported through their long and devoted marriage.
Peter Donald, port chaplain, led a service of dedication before Mrs Grant Smith’s family members, John Osborne and Pierre Bonnet, officially named the new vessel the Ian Grant Smith by pouring whisky from a quaich over the boat’s bow.
Established in 1800, Montrose Lifeboat Station pre-dates the RNLI. Now Montrose is the first station in Scotland to become home to the latest and most advanced lifeboat the RNLI has ever had in service.
She was officially named exactly nine months after arriving in Montrose in August 2015.
The Shannon-class is the first of the RNLI’s all-weather vessels to be powered by water-jets rather than traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable lifeboat in the charity’s fleet.
Ray Wilkie, lifeboat operations manager, said: “The Ian Grant Smith is a very different and far more advanced lifeboat compared to the Tyne-class Moonbeam she replaces.
“Over the past nine months the crew have had to put in many hours of additional training to get up to speed with the new lifeboat and I’m really pleased with the commitment they have shown and the time they have devoted to make this transition as smooth as it has been.”
Coxswain Scott Murray said: “We were sad to see the old lifeboat go, she served us well for 26 years, but this new lifeboat is a real leap forward in technology and will allow us to keep doing what we do here for at least the next 25 years.”
Capable of 25 knots, the Shannon-class is 50 per cent faster than the Tyne she replaces.