New lifeboat helps keep supporter's memory alive
A WOMAN who survived the sinking of the Lusitania liner during the First World War will be remembered in Ceredigion this weekend.
Audrey Lawson Johnston was just three months old when the British ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic.
Throughout her life, she helped raise thousands of pounds for New Quay's RNLI lifeboat.
The life-saving charity has now decided to name its latest boat in her honour.
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Sadly, Mrs Johnson passed away last year at the age of 95.
New Quay lifeboat's operations manager Roger Couch said: "Mrs Johnston was a dedicated supporter and fundraiser for the RNLI throughout her life and developed a particular interest in the New Quay station.
"It was a real pleasure to meet with her during the naming of Amy Lea and we were humbled to hear that her family was keen to help fund another lifeboat for our station."
He said a special ceremony will be held at the station at 2.30pm on Saturday to name their new inshore lifeboat.
"It will be a proud moment for all the volunteer crew at the station to witness the new lifeboat being named Audrey LJ, in honour of one of our most dedicated supporters," he added.
"Without people like Mrs Johnston and her family, the volunteer crew at New Quay would not be able to continue saving lives at sea."
He said Saturday will be an important day in the history of the lifeboat and the public are invited down to witness the dedication of the new boat.
Leading the dedication will be Amy Crocker, Mrs Johnston's eldest granddaughter.
Also in attendance will be a number of distinguished guests, senior members of the RNLI and representatives from several RNLI stations, including Courtmacsherry Harbour in Ireland — whose crew had been involved in the rescue of survivors from the Lusitania.
On May 7, 1915, Mrs Johnston and her family were onboard the Cunard liner Lusitania.
As the ship steamed 11 miles off the coast off Ireland, near Kinsale Head, she was sighted and then attacked by a German U-boat.
The ship sank in just 18 minutes with the loss of 1,195 lives, causing shock at home and across the Atlantic.
By 2004, Mrs Johnston and her family had raised the funds for New Quay's former D-class lifeboat Amy Lea.
It was named by Audrey in memory of Amy Lea Pearl, her American mother.
Less than a week after entering service at the Ceredigion station last month, the new inshore lifeboat was called into action.
It joined the all-weather lifeboat in helping a cruiser experiencing problems just north of Aberaeron Harbour.