VIDEO: Hopes restored lifeboat will stay in Lincolnshire

  • Enthusiast spent almost two decades lovingly restoring Skegness’ first motor lifeboat
  • Eager for the vessel to remain in the county

A man who has spent almost two decades lovingly restoring Skegness’ first motor lifeboat is hoping to find a new home, preferably somewhere in the county, to take care of her.

Terry Despicht, 73, of Sutterton, originally bought the Anne Allen in 1999 for his children, however after discovering it was in fact the very vessel which had inspired his love of boating, a decision was made to restore it to its former glory.

The Anne Allen back on open waters. Photo: John Holland

The Anne Allen back on open waters. Photo: John Holland

He told The Standard: “My dad was a Wash fisherman. I remember distinctly at the age of four, he took me to the station and I can remember holding his right hand and my left hand being near the boat and, looking round, I touched it. It just amazed me, this gleaming white of unfurling sails and the blue of the hull - it just left a lasting impression with me.”

The historic boat was the first motor boat to serve at Skegness Lifeboat Station and was there from 1932 to 1953. It is the only surviving boat of the eight that served prior to the 12m Mersey Lincolnshire Poacher which was officially replaced last Saturday.

Between 1939 and 1945 the Anne Allen spent much of her time searching for crews of crashed aircraft due to it being close to many Bomber Command air bases in the county.

Terry said: “At the age of 73 and as I also sail a Moody 34 kept at Fosdyke Yacht Haven where the Anne Allen is currently situated, three miles from my home in Sutterton, I can no longer manage the two boats.

It just amazed me, this gleaming white of unfurling sails and the blue of the hull - it just left a lasting impression with me.

Terry Despicht

“I have always hoped that the Anne Allen, originally built with money donated by Anne Allen, of Spalding, daughter of a blind watchmaker of Holbeach, and the oldest of the 28 Liverpool Class lifeboats built and boasting virtually all original RNLI parts as would have been on her when launched in 1932, would stay in the county of Lincolnshire which she served for 21 years including the war years when she spent much time searching for airmen in the Second World War.”

Following her service, she was sold to the Cox family of Wells next to the Sea. She was then used as a whelking ship for 21 years before being sold to Stratton Long Marine, in Blakeney, and used as an angling boat - renamed the Golden Fleece II.

During this time she underwent a number of changes. However, Mr Despicht has been able to restore the boat - including replacing the motor from its original Perkins engine to a Lister engine.

The boat was relaunched into the Wash in 2015.

Terry Despicht working on the boat.

Terry Despicht working on the boat.

Mr Despicht would like the vessel to remain within the county, preferably at Skegness, and said he believed she - along with other items of memorabilia - would be a great tourism attraction for the coastal town.

He said: “This is part of Lincolnshire’s heritage, especially with the years she spent looking for airmen.”

He said he believed Skegness could have a museum similar to others such as the Mo Sheringham Museum which has three old lifeboats on display.

Last Saturday, crowds celebrated the arrival of the new £2.2 million Shannon lifeboat the Joel and April Grunnill, named after the people who helped make it happen.

Joel and April Grunnill next to the Anne Allen as it was being restored.

Joel and April Grunnill next to the Anne Allen as it was being restored.

Mr Grunnill also served on the Anne Allen from the age of 15, joining as a crew member in 1939. Before he died, Mr Grunnill visited the Anne Allen during her renovation period and presented Mr Despicht with her small original plaque number.

Mr Despicht was born in Boston.

He taught at Kitwood Boys for 28 years as one of two art teachers.

He is now part owner of Anglian Soil Analysis with his wife.

Anyone interested in taking care of the Anne Allen can contact Mr Despicht on 
terrydespicht@btconnect.com or calling 01205460590.

Joel Grunnill with Terry Despicht and the Anne Allen.

Joel Grunnill with Terry Despicht and the Anne Allen.