A FAMOUS lifeboat that has saved hundreds of lives will be visiting a town steeped in maritime heritage.

After being restored to her original glory, the renowned Guernsey Hero – or Sir William Arnold – is making her way down the east coast.

She was due to arrive in Maldon last Sunday, but was diverted because of weather conditions.

Owner Colin Trowles said: “Sir William Arnold was the second Arun class to be built.

“One of the beautiful things about 52-02 is her unique lines.

“The design of her superstructure with the flying bridge at the back, her sweeping deck towards the stern, is designed to allow better recovery of survivors from the water.

“On board, you can feel the immense history that the boat holds and the stories it could tell if she could talk.

“A boat like this needs to be preserved and her story told to others – not just lifeboat enthusiasts, but those that love messing about in boats for recreation and leisure.”

The lifeboat was named by the Duchess of Kent in 1974 after Sir William Arnold, a bailiff of Guernsey who was involved in the fundraising campaign in the Seventies.

With the blessing of his son, the boat’s original name has now been restored.

The lifeboat served for around 24 years before being sold out of service in 1997.

Mr Trowles said: “She’s being restored back to how she used to be in her RNLI livery and her heyday.

“It’s how the people of Guernsey would have seen her lying at moorings in St Peter Port and how the people she saved would have seen her as she came to their aid and saved them from the throes of death.

“I want today’s generation to see how a lifeboat would have looked in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, and how technology has advanced.

“Most of all, I want this amazing boat’s story told to our visitors.”

The visit is set to be rescheduled.

The lifeboat’s progress can be followed at the lifeboat5202.com website.