Celebrations continue for life-saving South Shields charity

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade takes part in a sea rescue re-enactment.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade takes part in a sea rescue re-enactment.

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The pinnacle of a weekend of celebrations to mark 150 years of a life-saving team is set to be re-lived through words and pictures.

The re-enactment of the first life to be saved from a shipwreck by volunteers using the breeches buoy system was carried out earlier this month.

Coun Richard Porthouse, the Mayor of South Tyneside, meets the 'rescued' crew.

Coun Richard Porthouse, the Mayor of South Tyneside, meets the 'rescued' crew.

The event was watched by many who gathered to see members of South Shields Volunteers Life Brigade in action.

A breeches buoy rescue involves firing a rescue line to a stricken vessel by rocket and setting up a pulley system to save the crew.

Now, those who missed out are being given a second chance to find out more about the famous rescue, of those on board the schooner Tenterden of Sunderland on April 2, 1866, when a talk is held at the Watch House, on the South Pier, in South Shields, tomorrow.

It will feature photographs of the re-enactment of the Tenterden, made possible with the support of the North East Maritime Trust, Tynemouth and Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigades, and other events coming up as part of a series of celebrations.

The re-enactment was the highlight of a very significant weekend of celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the brigade.

Tom Fennelly

Admission to the event is free and starts at 11am.

Tom Fennelly, honorary secretary of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, said: “The re-enactment was the highlight of a very significant weekend of celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Brigade.

“It was a great team effort by today’s members, supported by colleagues from Tynemouth and Sunderland, with great help from the North East Maritime Trust, Port of Tyne and Tynemouth lifeboats.

“It was followed by a hugely successful 150th anniversary dinner in the Little Haven Hotel and a wonderful Service of Thanksgiving in St Hilda’s Church. The programme of celebration events is going extremely well.”

As part of the year of celebrations to mark the milestone, an exhibition will be opened up at South Shields Museum from May 21 until September 17 dedicated to the life brigade.

A series of open days and illustrated talks at the Watch House will also take place.

In addition there will be visits by local schools and a major new digital educational resource is set to be launched later this month to make the “Always Ready” story accessible online to schools throughout the country.

Other events include a Sea Shanty Nights at the Little Haven Hotel on Friday June 10 and a special evening of local music and song at The Customs House on July 23 with a concert by The Bad Pennies.

Tickets for both events will be available soon.

A commemorative documentary film has also been commissioned and a new brochure is being produced highlighting the achievements of the past and celebrating the search and rescue work of the Volunteer Life Brigade today.

For programme details, visit the brigade’s website HERE.

Leaflets are also available from libraries in South Tyneside.