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Cyril and Lilian Bishop

Cyril and Lilian Bishop

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Type R.N.L.I. Lifeboat
Length 35ft 6ins
Beam 8ft 10ins
Draft 2ft
Displacement 9 tons
Engine 35hp Weyburn petrol
Construction Double diagonal
Builder J. S. White, Cowes, I o W
Year Built 1931

Hastings lifeboat, the Cyril and Lilian Bishop, went into service in 1931 as a shallow-draft sailing lifeboat. Built at Cowes for the RNLI, she was a self-righter - and proved it, when she capsized during service in 1944. In 1950 she was sold as a fishing vessel and went to the West coast of Scotland where Arra Fletcher bought her in 1976. He re-named her Lindy Lou after his daughter and brought her to the free port of Askaig on the Isle of Islay. There, she earned fame when her owner fought a battle against authority in 1980.

The Duke of Kent was due to visit the island and the powers that be wanted the old boat removed from the harbour because of complaints that her time and weather-worn appearance might offend the Royal eye. Arra Fletcher who had painted her and dressed her overall, and whose ancestors arrived in Islay centuries ago, occupied his ship to defend the islanders' right to free use of the harbour. He won the day when his case was taken up by press and TV after letters of protest to 10, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace and a flood of sympathetic messages from all over Britain.

Lindy Lou lay in Askaig harbour for some time before being rescued by the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust. She was acquired by Simon Evans before being transported to his yard in Sens, France where she is being restored.

Source: 1 & 5