The Back of the Wight has a proud history in terms of lifesaving at sea. The area “Back of the Wight” has, in the past, required three RNLI boats stationed at Atherfield, Brook and Brighstone. Between 1860 and 1931 these three crews saved 853 lives, and in 1937 the last of these boats at Brook was withdrawn.
The RNLI service is still much needed and is now provided by Yarmouth lifeboat in the West, and Bembridge in the East: the division occurring at St Catherine’s Point.
Aim of The Back of the Wight Branch.
The aim of the branch is to, “Nurture the good name of the RNLI in the Back of the Wight, and in so doing to raise funds for the continuance of the service”. Within this aim, our prime responsibility is to keep alive the memory of the great personal service and sacrifice of the crews and volunteers, who manned the three stations and collectively saved 853 lives. The preface of The Lifeboats of Brighstone Bay states, “They were a remarkable breed of men, tough and determined to save life and never failed to come forward to man the boats. They were backed up by men and women helpers, who, when the boat had been launched, watched and waited to give further help when needed”.
Working today within our community.
The branch committee organises summer and winter events to raise funds; manages house-to-house collections once a year; organises collection boxes; and would welcome anyone wishing to help in our work.
Of special importance is an annual church service, to which the Parishes have kindly agreed, with involvement from schools and others who wish to join in.
The next service will be on April 6th at St Andrew’s Chale, beginning at 16:00.
The Parish plans to move this service around the five churches so that each congregation can join in the memory of all those associated with each station, and better reflect the location of the three boat stations.
References for further information.
The Lifeboats of Brighstone Bay by Christopher Willis and Edward Roberts, published by IOW County Press.
Brooke Life Boat by Robert Cassell, Edited by Ron James 1997.