A LIFEBOAT built in memory of Williton student Toby Rundle has gone into service at Clovelly in North Devon.

It comes four years after Toby’s family started a fundraising campaign to get an Atlantic 85 class RNLI lifeboat bearing his name.

The boat arrived by sea at the weekend and after intensive familiarisation trials for the crew, it officially entered service on a Tuesday.

Toby, died in 2009 aged 21, just as he was about to start his third and final year of studies at Oxford.

He was the only son of journalists Chris and Debbie Rundle, who with family and friends, raised over £174,000 towards the cost of the boat.

Mr Rundle, who is also the RNLI’s press officer in Minehead, was there with Toby’s sister Philippa to see the boat arrive.

He said it was an amazing, though emotional experience to see the completion of a fund-raising journey which started almost exactly four years ago.

“What was even more impressive was the undoubted enthusiasm of the crew for the new arrival,” he said.

“Given the Clovelly station’s exemplary record of taking care of its lifeboats, we know the Toby Rundle is now in very safe hands and we look forward to hearing how our boat maintains the community’s long and illustrious tradition of saving lives at sea.”

The Atlantic 85 is the fastest class in the RNLI’s fleet, with a top speed of 35 knots.

It is equipped with the latest navigational and life-saving aids and can carry a crew of four people.

Clovelly’s crew underwent specialist training at the RNLI College in Poole before taking delivery of the boat, which replaces their smaller Atlantic 75 class Spirit of Clovelly.

The new boat arrived by sea from Padstow on Saturday morning to be reunited with its launching carriage, which had to be delivered by landing craft because of the restricted land access to Clovelly’s beach.

  • The boat will be officially named at a service of dedication in Clovelly on July 5.