The volunteer crew from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) at Hoylake are set to face a team from Hoylake Sailing Club in what will be the 50th anniversary of the Slater Trophy Boxing Day Tug o’War.
The friendly competition was established in 1972 by Arthur Slater of Hoylake Sailing Club and Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Danny Triggs. Over the decades, it has become firm festive tradition in the local community, now regularly attracting hundreds of spectators and raising vital funds for the lifesaving work of the RNLI.
The event’s coveted Slater Trophy is a small teapot with a rich history that bears the name of the winning team dating back to the very first tournament.
The humble trophy started life in the boardroom of Cammell Laird shipbuilders in the 1960s when the Polaris programme’s Resolution-class submarines were under construction in Birkenhead. The teapot was thrown out, dented and dull, into a McDermott’s sprout box and eventually found its way to Hoylake.
After the inaugural Tug o’War tournament in 1972, the teapot was discovered, polished and engraved with the name of the first winning team – the ‘Lifeboat’. So began five decades of local competition, normally celebrated afterwards with a toast to the participants in the Sailing Club.
Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Howie Owen said, “It’s a special anniversary for the Slater Trophy and like generations before them, our crew are excited to be pulling on their boots to take on the Sailing Club and defend their winning title in this historic, friendly competition.
“The event is free to watch and a great way to walk off Christmas lunch. We hope that our community will show their usual fantastic support by cheering on both teams. But until then, we hope everyone stays safe and has a happy Christmas.”
Robin Stratton, Hoylake Sailing Club Secretary and Vice Commodore, said, “It’s great to have been a part of this event over the last 50 years. It has become a real Hoylake tradition and brings a brief moment of rivalry between these two longstanding institutions of the town, who otherwise continue to enjoy a great relationship via our shared links with the sea. Whilst the spoils have been shared over the years, our team will be pulling extra hard in this special anniversary year to try and return the Slater teapot to the club mantelpiece.”
Main image: Stratus Imagery