Pearl of Dorset will be paraded through the resort before she is finally retired

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Lyme’s namesake lifeboat - The Pearl of Dorset - will get a civic send off to mark her retirement from service.

The vessel, based in the town since 1997, is to be paraded through the resort as a special ‘thank you’ to the people whose contributions paid for her.

The Pearl of Dorset’s 14 years service comes to an end at the beginning of March when a new lifeboat takes over the life-saving role for the RNLI and its volunteer crew.

And the crew thought it would be a fitting show of gratitude to take the boat on a farewell journey through the town centre.

The boat, on its trailer, will be towed by its tractor from the lifeboat station starting at 12noon on Sunday, February 26.

With an escort supplied by police and the coastguards, the Pearl of Dorset will travel up Cobb Road then down Pound Street to Broad Street before turning round at the bottom of the town and returning.

One of the organisers, helmsman Martin Croad, said: ”It was the contributions of the people of Lyme Regis and the surrounding areas that paid for the boat in the first place, and that is why it was named the Pearl of Dorset.

“We just thought we would like to make this gesture of thanks to everyone for buying this fine vessel that has helped us save many lives over the years.

“We hope plenty of people will turn out to give us a wave.

“And on this special occasion we won’t be making a collection for the RNLI charity. On the contrary, we hope to have some little presents to hand out to any children we see on our route.”

The Pearl of Dorset will be replaced by Spirit of Loch Fyne on March 3.

The new, larger boat fitted with the latest navigational aids, bears the name of the restaurant chain which has been raising funds to purchase the vessel for the RNLI since 2007.

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