A NORTH Yorkshire woman has paid for a brand new lifeboat which saved two people on its first call-out.

In a generous donation, Sheila Foster, from Haxby, York presented the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with £214,000 for a new Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat. The vessel, named Albatross, is the most technologically advanced lifeboat and is the first inshore boat to be fitted with radar, which allows it to operate more effectively in fog.

It is also faster and bigger than its predecessor, the Atlantic 75 lifeboat Tanni Grey, with room for four crew members and more space for casualties.

The boat’s first call-out involved a dramatic night-time rescue from its base at Cardigan, in Ceredigion, Wales.

It was launched in rough seas to rescue two people stuck on some rocks surrounded by large seas in winds of 29 knots. The rescue earned the three volunteer crew men with awards for their bravery in the rescue, which involved one of them swimming to reach the casualties. They received the RNLI’s official Thanks of the Institution.

Miss Foster recently attended a dedication and naming ceremony of the boat in Ceredigion.

She said she had been inspired to support the RNLI after seeing a lifeboat on a visit to Filey in North Yorkshire, when she was five-years-old.

“Ever since I visited Filey and saw their lifeboat when I was five years old, I have had a great admiration and fondness for the RNLI,” she said.

“To think that those brave volunteer crews put their own lives at risk in order to save others is truly admirable. I have supported the RNLI all of my life, and I’m very proud to see Albatross on service in Cardigan.”

Cliff Griffith, Cardigan RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said the service was also a chance to thank Miss Foster for her generous support.

Speaking at the ceremony, he added: “The Atlantic 85 was called into action only a few weeks after her arrival in Cardigan, taking part in a dramatic rescue off Tresaith which resulted in saving two lives," he said.

"Since then, the volunteers have been kept busy responding to service calls and training."

Cardigan RNLI volunteers were called out on service 49 times last year, rescuing 32 people and saving seven lives.