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Service Upon The Sea
Posted on: 20th July, 2018
As a small island sat off the north-west shoulder of Scotland, our community has a deep connection to the sea. For generations we’ve sailed the waters of the surrounding Atlantic, its wild presence defining life and death for those upon its waves.
So, an institution like the RNLI, and the lifeboat crews who serve with them, are of huge importance to us. Year round, around the clock, the men and women who volunteer for this historic search-and-rescue charity are ready and waiting when duty calls.
When we learned that our own Leverburgh RNLI station had taken delivery of a new Shannon-class rescue boat we were delighted. This state-of-the-art, £2.1M vessel is faster, more agile and incredibly manoeuvrable, all crucial factors when lives are at risk.
The news was particularly welcomed by two of our distillery team, Billy Fraser and Leanne Macaulay, who are RNLI volunteers themselves.
Last Saturday was the official naming ceremony and we were honoured to be asked to provide a bottle of Isle of Harris Gin to pour over the bows of the new RNLB Stella & Humfrey Berkeley, ‘christening' the boat to mark the occasion.
We decided to create a special bottling of our Isle of Harris Gin, limited to just 50 bottles and with a unique label designed to celebrate the day, providing a unique keepsake for the donors, supporters and crew.
The boat itself is named after Stella and Humfrey Berkeley, two of the generous donors who made all this possible. The couple loved sailing and made numerous trips around our waters, spending many holidays along the coast of the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda.
As is the way with Outer Hebridean summers, the day of the ceremony was very wet and windy for the brave crowd who attended. But as Hamish Taylor the President of Leverburgh lifeboat station said:
'We have an all weather lifeboat, an all weather crew and all weather supporters!”
Our distillery chairman was pleased to present an Isle of Harris Gin gift set to Penny Innes, who is the niece of Stella & Humfrey Berkeley, as she handed the lifeboat into the care of our local RNLI team in Leverburgh.
With the ceremony over, and spirits undampened, we beat a hasty retreat to enjoy some hot drinks and an Isle of Harris G&T or two in the warmth of nearby Leverburgh Hall.
Well done to everyone involved in this historic moment for our island community, and we wish RNLB Stella & Humfrey Berkeley and its crew many years of safe and successful rescues.