1. ITV Report

£250,000 appeal launched for new Wells lifeboat

The current Wells lifeboat Photo: ITV Anglia

An appeal's been launched for a new lifeboat at Wells on the Norfolk coast.

With the current boat nearing the end of its life, volunteers at the station want to replace it with a faster, more modern vessel.

A Shannon class lifeboat Credit: RNLI

Most of the two million pounds required has already been raised from legacy gifts, but volunteers still need to raise £250,000 in the next 18 months.

There's been a lifeboat crew in Wells for almost 150 years. Over the decades, hundreds have been part of that crew, rising to the challenge of rescuing those in peril along this stretch of the Norfolk coast.

The current lifeboat out at sea Credit: Wells RNLI

For the last 25 years, it's fallen to those on board the Doris M Mann of Ampthill to keep that tradition alive. But now it's time for a replacement.

Allen Frary Credit: ITV Anglia

Technology and everything moves on and with a new boat we're going to have a lot greater speed than we currently have and obviously that means we can have a faster response time and get to casualties a lot quicker.

– Allen Frary, coxswain, Wells lifeboat

The appeal has been officially launched to raise a quarter of a million pounds to help pay for a new boat, hopefully by 2016. It will be a Shannon class boat, replacing the current Mersey type.

Already a cheque has been handed over for £500 from the Saturday morning bikers' club

A cheque is handed over to the lifeboat crew Credit: ITV Anglia

Wells has always been very supportive of its lifeboat.

This a town well aware of what damage the sea can do, you only need go back to December when it was under serious threat from the tidal surge.

The importance for Wells is that the lifeboat station has been very much the fabric of this town since 1860. We have huge support for the boat and the crews here, not only for the local people but from the visiting community that come here in the summer.

– Chris Hardy, operations manager, Wells lifeboat

The station's honours board needs to be updated.

On Wednesday, two sailors were rescued after a yacht ran aground near Wells.

Meanwhile new members are always inspired by stories of such rescues.

Angel Eaglen is 17 tomorrow and about to undergo a medical so she can join.

Angel Eaglen Credit: ITV Anglia

It's been a big part of my life since i was little because my granddad, my uncle and my godfather are on the crew and they've got me involved ever since I was little

– Angel Eaglen, future crew member
The Eliza Adams disaster in 1880 Credit: Wells RNLI

1880 was the disaster of the Eliza Adams the very first RNLI lifeboat that was placed in Wells.

It went out on a call and boat capsized. The 13 crew drowned leaving the town with 11 widows and 27 children who were fatherless.

Thankfully, lifeboats are much safer now and the crew are hoping the appeal will quickly raise the cash for their new Shannon class boat.