The Olympic Cruise from Cowes involving Isle of Wight-based past Olympians proved a big success, despite the Solent being relentlessly cloaked in fine rain.
Aboard the excursion ship Solent Scene were former Olympic yachting competitors, Shirley Robertson,Jo Richards, Pete Newlands and 1950s veteran Major Barrington-Ward. Host for the two hour trip was the RNLI's most decorated lifeboat crewman on the Island, Dave Kennett, former coxswain of Yarmouth lifeboat and now its chairman.
As the Solent Scene passed the new Cowes lifeboat station, for which the cruise was a fund-raising event, the lifeboat was launched into the harbour for the benefit of the 90 passengers. Later, off Cowes, it made several impressive passes of the vessel. The passengers were also able to tuck into a cream tea and dance to Chick Cole's music.
A major highlight was the cutting of a special iced cake, made by Cowes guild member Eileen Tibbetts, with Shirley using a ceremonial sword. Many guests could also not resist the chance of having a picture taken with Shirley and the Olympic torch she recently carried in Newport.
Chairman of the guild, Anna Morgan Crockett, praised everyone who had made the cruise so memorable, and estimated that it would raise around £1,000 towards the station's £1-million appeal. Of this sum, £224 came from a raffle where many of the prizes comprised donated bottles of Champagne.
- www.rya.org.uk RYA website