Olympic seal of approval on Thames

Olympic rower Greg Searle naming new Thames lifeboat. Credit: London Tonight

There was an Olympic seal of approval on the Thames for the latest addition to the lifeboat fleet. Olympic rower Greg Searle named a new Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboat.

The Olympic rowing medallist was welcomed by the crew of the Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat Station to help the charity officially name its new boat.

Greg Searle was invited for the event because of his previous support for Chiswick RNLI and the charity's biggest national fundraising event, SOS Day.

The new boat will be a boost to their fleet of life savers on the Thames.

The RNLI has been running a search and rescue service in the capital for the past 10 years.

The new inshore lifeboat will be used by Tower and Chiswick RNLI crews, both stations are among the busiest in the UK, Tower being the busiest.

The new lifeboats serving the Thames are faster and bigger and better for saving lives.

The boat named by the Olympic rower was Dougie and Donna B, after its donors.

The funding for the lifeboat came from the south east London couple Douglas and Rosemary Battams, who left the RNLI a sum in their will.

The couple, who never had children, chose to support the RNLI in their will because of Douglas's association with the sea.

He had been at sea or around water for most of his life, in the Merchant Navy for many years and then later working on the Thames with the Port of London Authority (PLA).

Paul Brand reports.