The new Arctic 24 Sidmouth lifeboat has been officially named today (August 17) as Peter and Barbara Truesdale – as a mark of respect for the siblings’ support for the town’s lifeboat station.
The poignant naming and blessing ceremony took place at Sidmouth Lifeboat Station at 11am – an event witnessed by crew members, lifeboat supporters and invited guests.
Members of the public waited on The Esplanade as the new vessel was welcomed to the fleet, ready to wish it well on every mission it undertakes at sea.
Relatives of Peter and Barbara Truesdale were there to participate in and witness the event. They included Derek Truesdale, second cousin of Peter, Kezia Truesdale, 12, granddaughter, Ashton Truesdale, 10, grandson, and Georgina Truesdale, Derek’s wife.
Derek Truesdale, second cousin of Peter, said it was ‘an emotional day’.
He added: “It’s lovely – I didn’t expect it to be named after the family. It’s great for our family as a legacy, because we are very thin on the ground now.”
Guests gathered in the packed lifeboat station heard a welcome address from Tom Griffiths. An introduction was given by Derek Truesdale.
There was standing room only as this important milestone in the lifeboat station’s history unfolded.
Charles Scott-Fox, a life-long friend of Peter Truesdale, then spoke before the blessing of the boat was conducted by Minister Brian Hadfield, with Derek Truesdale performing the blessing with Champagne.
After a gloomy start to the day, the sun broke through clouds in time for the launch.
The purchase of the new lifeboat was made possible thanks to a generous donation in trust from the late Surgeon Captain Peter Jeffrey Truesdale, a former Honorary Physician to the Queen, and his sister, Barbara.
“Peter would be thrilled to think that his legacy would do so much good both in Sidmouth and on the Solent, helping those in difficulty,” said Barbara.
It will patrol the waters from Axmouth to Budleigh Salterton.
Phil Shepperd, operations manager at Sidmouth Lifeboat, said: “Pride of Sidmouth was launched on 274 callouts, rescuing or assisting 226 people in the process.
“Although no longer on station here, Pride of Sidmouth continues to service the south coast of the UK, as we were able to donate it to our neighbouring independent lifeboat organisation, Solent Rescue.
“Our new vessel provides our volunteer crew with the latest technology and equipment required for the vital work they do at sea, and we expect it to be on service with us here in Sidmouth for the next 15-20 years.”
‘Thank you’ for new Sidmouth lifeboat
Sidmouth Lifeboat is an independent organisation and exists solely on the generous donations from the local community and beyond.
Every single penny raised is used to keep the town’s boats maintained, and crew trained and equipped.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “Sidmouth Lifeboat would like to take this opportunity to say ’thank you’ to everyone in our local community and beyond for their continued support.
“We could not operate without the generous donations of time and money we receive.”
About Peter Truesdale
Peter Truesdale qualified as a doctor at the University of Leeds in 1955 and joined the Royal Navy on a three-year Short Service commission on 31 May 1956.
After his indoctrination into the service at the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, Portsmouth, he was appointed as the Medical Officer to the Fifth Frigate Squadron serving in the Mediterranean and Home Fleets, including the short Suez campaign and Cyprus patrols, alongside his lifelong friend, Charles Scott-Fox.
In 1958, he was appointed as Deputy to the Senior Medical Officer of the Royal Naval Air Station, Culdrose, where Charles was undergoing his flying training as an Observer and followed him again in 1959 to HMS Ark Royal, operating in the Mediterranean, to complete his experience and qualification as a specialist in Aviation Medicine.
In 1962 he qualified with a Diploma in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, specialising in Occupational Medicine qualifying him for a series of Dockyard appointments as a Factory Doctor.
Apart from two further sea appointments, 1963-65 in HMS London, which included a world tour, and in 1968-69 HMS Forth, the Submarine Depot Ship based in Singapore, the rest of his career was to be as the Senior Medical Officer and Factory Doctor at a succession of Royal Naval Bases and Dockyards.
In 1970, he returned to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for his Diploma in Industrial Health and Specialist in Hygiene. In 1978, following his attendance at the Royal Naval Senior Officer’s Nuclear Administration Course at the Royal Naval College Greenwich, he was appointed as Consultant in Occupational Medicine for the Royal Navy.
He was a member of the Society of Occupational Medicine and sometime committee member in Scotland, and
a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. In 1990 he was appointed as an Honorary Physician to the Queen.
After his retirement from the Royal Navy in 1991, he served for the succeeding ten years as the now privatised Devonport Dockyard Medical Officer and also as consultant to Plymouth City Council. In 1980, he had bought a small cottage on the edge of Dartmoor, which would be his home for the rest of his life.
A life-long motor-cycle racing enthusiast and a long-term supporter of the National Trust, serving for many years on the committee of the West Devon branch, to which, together with his alma mater and many other charities, he was a very generous supporter.
Mr Truesdale never married but was close to his sister throughout his life.