Retired lifeboat Mary Irene Millar restored in Falmouth for RNLI anniversary celebrations
4 April 2024

A former RNLI lifeboat has been restored in Falmouth before joining the RNLI’s 200th anniversary celebrations in May.

Mary Irene Millar, affectionately known as MIM, is a Tyne class lifeboat number 47- 033.

She has spent the past four months at the Falmouth Boat Co. having her superstructure restored to as new. 

MIM is now set to form part of a historical display of former lifeboats at a number of events around the UK.

Keith Berry, a former Royal Marine Reservist and retired marina manager, bought MIM directly from the RNLI ten years ago, she had been stationed at Portpatrick on the west coast of Scotland for most of her working life.

'Tip-top condition' 

Although MIM has been kept in good condition he asked Falmouth Boat Co. to carry out the restoration work because he wanted the her to be in “tip-top condition” for the RNLI open weekend in Poole in May.

Keith said: “It’s been a huge financial challenge for me but the rewards are also huge. 

“The pleasure I get from preserving and showing her to people is significant and, at the same time, she's contributing to our maritime history. 

“It has been a total pleasure to work with the Falmouth Boat Co, my passion became theirs, with the whole team taking great care in their approach, enthusiasm and pride in their work. 

“Professionalism and passion, from the start to finish is how I'd sum the restoration project up.”

'An honour and a joy'

Jonathan Fielding, managing director of Falmouth Boat Co. said the team enjoyed restoring the former lifeboat. 

He said: “As one of the few RNLI support yards, we refit and repair all classes of present-day lifeboats for the RNLI but to restore Mary Irene Millar was a different kind of privilege. 

“It was an honour and a joy to return the ex-lifeboat to her former glory so she can illustrate some of the history of this life-saving charity in its 200th year.”

MIM will be in Guernsey for Liberation Day in May before joining the RNLI’s Poole Lifeboat Festival at the RNLI headquarters over the weekend of 18-19 May. 

Following that, she will form part of a showcase of historical ex-lifeboats in Fowey, leading up to the RNLI’s anniversary weekend in Falmouth in June.

MIM, with many other historic and serving boats, can be seen throughout the year of the RNLI’s 200th anniversary.