THE WORLD'S second-oldest lifeboat in existence and one of the North-East’s most important examples of maritime heritage has made her return journey home after being fully renovated.

The Grade II Listed The Tyne lifeboat, built by J Oliver from South Shields in 1833, served the town for more than 60 years and saved 1,028 lives.

It was placed on public display at South Shields seafront in 1894 as a permanent reminder of the skill and bravery of the men of the Tyne Lifeboat Institution.

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The intricate renovation programme has been made possible with help from South Tyneside Council’s Riverside Community Area Forum (CAF) and delivered by a team of 30 volunteers from the North East Maritime Trust.

The lifeboat was today (Tuesday, February 11) lifted by crane back into place at the vessel’s permanent home in Pier Parade, South Shields, near the borough’s new swimming pool and leisure complex, Haven Point.

Councillor Audrey McMillan, vice chairman of South Tyneside Council’s foreshore steering group said: “We are very proud of our rich heritage in South Shields, in particular The Tyne lifeboat; which is why the renovation programme was such an important project to make a reality.

“The commitment and hard work by the council and the North East Maritime Trust has reinvigorated a symbolic regional and international piece of maritime heritage.”

Tim West, director of the North East Maritime Trust, said: “Working on The Tyne lifeboat has been a fascinating experience and a real honour, not just for me personally, but for the thirty volunteers who worked tirelessly for over four months on the project.

“To lovingly renovate a boat with this much historical significance is a privilege, as she is a massive part of South Shield’s maritime history a subject matter that is really close to the Trust’s heart.

“We are really looking forward to seeing The Tyne lifeboat back in public view, where she rightly belongs.”

The Tyne will be in public view again after an official launch at about 11am on Friday, February 28.