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The Duke of Kent returns to Fraserburgh, marking 55 years as President of RNLI

The Duke of Kent has marked his 55 years of service and commitment to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with a visit to Fraserburgh Lifeboat Station.

As President for over a quarter of the RNLI’s existence, The Duke of Kent has visited stations around the UK and Ireland and has witnessed notable change through the years, from opening the first RNLI office in Poole in 1976, to attending the naming ceremony of an all-weather lifeboat named after His Royal Highness in 2005. 

In 1970, the year after succeeding both his father and mother as President, His Royal Highness travelled to Fraserburgh following a lifeboat disaster that rocked the town in which five of the crew aboard the RNLB Duchess of Kent perished at sea. The Duke of Kent led the procession of an estimated 10,000 mourners, met with the families of those who had died, and attended the funeral to pay his own respects. Yesterday, The Duke returned to commemorate his 55th anniversary as RNLI's President.

Earlier yesterday, the RNLI proudly announced that The King is to become the new Patron of the lifesaving charity. His Majesty succeeds Queen Elizabeth II and continues the tradition of patronage for the charity by the reigning monarch. 

On arrival in Fraserburgh yesterday, The Duke of Kent presented the lifeboat station with the very first house flag of the new patronage, featuring The King’s Crown. 

At the start of the visit, The Duke met with the families of James Buchan, John Stephen, James R.S. Buchan and William Hadden, who made the ultimate sacrifice onboard RNLB Duchess of Kent on 21 January 1970, and the family of the sole survivor John Jackson Buchan.

His Royal Highness also met two of the former crew of RNLB Duchess of Kentwho had served on the lifeboat alongside the five volunteers who tragically lost their lives in 1970.  

In celebration of Fraserburgh’s lifesavers of yesterday, The Duke presented three Chair Letters of Thanks to Coxswain Ethan Harris and crew members Stephen Brown and Shane Richardson, and a Chief Executive’s Commendation to Davy Sutherland, for the part they played in the rescue of four fishermen from a vessel that grounded and subsequently sank in October 2022. 

Before departing, His Royal Highness joined Pat Owen, the last surviving widow of the 1970 Fraserburgh lifeboat disaster, to lay a wreath at the foot of the remembrance statue, while pipers Billy Hepburn from the Turriff and District Pipeband and Lucy Sutherland played a lament.

Channel website: https://www.royal.uk/

Original article link: https://www.royal.uk/news-and-activity/2024-05-14/the-duke-of-kent-returns-to-fraserburgh-marking-55-years-as-president

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