An estimated 1700 people attended the 55th Annual Lifeboat Service on Wells Quay on 2 August, with the ILB being called to persons cut off by the large spring tide both immediately before and a short while after the event.
The lifeboat chaplain, Reverend Neil Woodruff, led the service from on board the relief lifeboat Lady of Hilbre. The address was given by Father Roger Arguile and the prayers and blessing by Father Keith Tulloch, Minister of Our Lady of the Sea Roman Catholic Church. The readers were Coxswain Allen Frary and 2nd Coxswains, Nicky King and Mark Frary.
Before the service Lifeboat Chairman Peter Rainsford paid tribute to all the people who have supported Wells lifeboat and our Shannon Lifeboat Appeal. He said:
We have been astounded by the response, here in Wells and along the coast to the East and to the West; in Fakenham, Dereham, Swaffham and Norwich and further afield in Cambridge, Peterborough and Leicester - the list goes on. It seems that we have friends and supporters everywhere. Your enthusiasm, imagination and generosity have been magnificent.
So far you have helped us to raise £217,000 - we are nearly there and it seems possible that we will reach our target of £250,000 in October. Although we are not there yet, this is a perfect opportunity for all of us to show our gratitude and to say to all of you - thank you!
In his address, Father Arguile, from St Nicholas Church in Wells, told the congregation that, as a leisure sailor, has twice had to call on the services of the lifeboat to come and rescue him. He paid tribute to the professionalism and dedication of the RNLI and described it as an unique institution, envied throughout the world.
The traditional seafarers hymns were accompanied by the Fakenham Town Band and led by the Churches Together choir. During the final hymn, Abide With Me, the inshore lifeboat went round to all the boats anchored in the harbor to take a collection while Guild members collected from those on land. As this was taking place the Mersey Class all-weather lifeboat did a circuit of the harbour sounding her siren and then as she departed, let off two parachute flares over the marshes.
The total collection came to £1,802, which goes to lifeboat funds.