DIGNITARIES were out in force as a naming ceremony took place to welcome the newest addition to Burnham’s RNLI lifeboat station.

Residents and town leaders came together on Saturday to mark the arrival of the latest D class inshore lifeboat to the station.

A ceremony was held at St Mary’s Church in the town for the D807, David and Barbara Chapman.

The boat is the third D class inshore lifeboat to be paid for by donations from the generous Burnham couple of the same name.

It will replace the current inshore lifeboat, the Ernest and Rose Chapman II.

Each inshore boat, which cost £48,000, can operate closer to the coast, making it easier to search in shallow water, close to cliffs and among rocks.

The RNLI introduced inshore lifeboats in 1963 and Burnham got its first boat in 1966 and was housed in a temporary wooden building next to the Petticrow Boatyard’s old sheds in Belvedere Road.

The station’s second D Class inflatable, called Ernest and Rose Chapman, was named in memory of David Chapman’s parents and was dedicated in June 1997.

In 2007, the new Ernest and Rose Chapman II D class boat came into operation followed by a new Atlantic 85 in 2011.

Burnham RNLI press officer, Jeremy Nicholson, said: “This is the third D Class ILB paid for by donations from couple David and Barbara Chapman.

“The current ILB, Ernest and Rose Chapman II has been replaced by the new lifeboat, D807, David and Barbara Chapman.

“Having spent much of the previous day cleaning the station and both boats for the ceremony, there was a shout on Friday in the evening at 17:15.

“The new D Class was already ‘baptised’, having had its first shout on Saturday, May 27, at 4.20pm.”

Crews were sent to Bridgemarsh Island after high spring tides saw a motor boat go aground.

The seven people on board were found to be OK, but were taken ashore in two trips.

Over the years, the crews have been called out to some unusual shouts.

In 1997, the lifeboat crews rescued a cow called Buttercup which was found in the river.

More recently, in 2009, a flock of 29 sheep had to be rescued from Clements Green Creek after getting stranded on the marshes with the tide rising.