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VOLUNTEER lifeboat crew members at Cowes RNLI Lifeboat Station will show off their new boathouse to an extra special guest this month, when HM The Queen will officially open the new station.

As part of a series of public engagements during her jubilee year, Her Majesty will grace the Isle of Wight with her presence on Wednesday 25 July, and will take part in various celebrations, including naming the new lifeboat station.

The lifeboat station, in Watch House Lane, only went operational in recent weeks, transferring from the old premises in Shepards Wharf to the town’s old Customs  Watch House building. The property was purchased and renovated by the RNLI to create the new station, which will provide volunteer lifeboat crew members with faster access to the Solent.

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Wednesday 25 July marks a double header for the RNLI community in Cowes – as well as a ceremony to officially open the station, there will also be a naming ceremony for the new lifeboat that has gone on service there, the Atlantic 85 class Sheena Louise.

The eponymous lifeboat takes its name from an Orpington woman who, despite being disabled, pursued a love of sailing throughout her life, up until her death in 2005. When Sheena Louise Pollock died aged 39, her family decided to donate funds in her memory to the RNLI, which funded the new lifeboat.

Volunteer lifeboat crew members and invited guests will be a part of the celebrations which, as Lifeboat Operations Manager Mark Southwell said, will be a day to remember for the town: ‘We’re all really thrilled that the Queen will visit our new station, especially in this, her jubilee year. Right now the Royal family have a huge appeal, after all the celebrations of the Jubilee weekend, and we’re looking forward to a good turnout to see the patron of our lifeboats charity.’

The refurbishment of the lifeboat station has been partly funded by a £1M public appeal for RNLI funds – with the total currently standing at around £750,000, fundraisers for the charity are hoping the high profile event will take that total closer to the £1M aim.

In addition to meeting people at the new lifeboat station, Her Majesty will also unveil a commemorative plaque on the sea wall in Cowes and visit Cowes Yacht Haven.

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HM The Queen will visit Cowes RNLI lifeboat station at 10.30am. She will spend 20 minutes at the station, unveiling a plaque before leaving for her next visit. The full lifeboat naming ceremony will take place after HM departure.

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