Historic lifeboat found on eBay sails back into home harbour

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HUNDREDS lined the shores to see a County Durham lifeboat returned to its community.

RNLI lifeboats provided a guard of honour as former Seaham lifeboat George Elmy sailed back into her home port yesterday for the first time since capsizing in 1962, with the loss of nine lives.

The return of the George Elmy lifeboat to Seaham escorted by present day lifeboats from Sunderland, Tynemouth and Hartlepool.

The return of the George Elmy lifeboat to Seaham escorted by present day lifeboats from Sunderland, Tynemouth and Hartlepool.

After it was thought to have disappeared, the boat was spotted for sale on eBay in 2009 and now, after a long restoration project managed by East Durham Heritage Group, a fund-raising campaign, and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, George Elmy is back home.

The boat paused as it entered Seaham so a wreath could be laid, then it entered North Dock to a round of applause and music from Murton Brass Band. A renaming ceremony was led by Rev Chris Collins, of Seaham’s St John’s Church.

Ernie Cooper, a member of the heritage group, said: “This is the culmination of four years’ work and a momentous occasion.”

He added the group was thrilled with the hundreds of people who turned out to the event.

Kathleen Lund, 68, recalled the night of the disaster, saying: “It was horrible. We heard the distress calls and the news went round very fast. Everybody came out.”

“This is a very emotional day, and I’m glad to see as many people out. It was such a sad occasion.”