‘Incredibly generous’ donation by Magazine Hotel supports restoration of historic lifeboat

The William & Kate Johnston Preservation Society received an incredibly generous donation from local business The Magazine Hotel, in New Brighton.

The donation will help realise phase one of the restoration project of the William & Kate Johnston lifeboat, which served New Brighton RNLI from 1923-1950, and saved 248 lives in 96 launches.

The donation of £1000 is a great indicator of the swell of support that the WKJPS have received from the local community since launching the campaign a few weeks ago.

With more than 20% of the total target amount raised in such a short time, hopes are high that the vessel can be saved, preserved and returned to the River Mersey, where she belongs.

Dan Wardle, director of WKJPS, said, “This is a wonderful sign that the community is right behind us for this project. Such a generous donation is a real statement of intent that says the people of New Brighton and Merseyside want to see their former lifeboat restored to her former glory, and back out on the river.”

The William & Kate Johnston Preservation Society has been set up to see this heritage asset, a crucial part of Merseyside maritime history, restored to her former glory and returned to the north west, to serve as a museum piece and working vessel on the river for day trips and community groups to take advantage of, whilst learning about her splendid history.

Having already acquired the vessel, the WKJPS have divided the task of the lifeboat’s return and restoration into several key phases. Phase one launched recently and relies upon the society raising £10,000 to see the William & Kate Johnston returned, via road, to the Wirral, where all-important survey work to ascertain the scale of repairs required can be carried out.

Steve Brady, owner of The Magazine Hotel and the man behind the generous donation, said, “Since opening in 1759, The Magazine Hotel has been a part of New Brighton’s vibrant community.

“During my 25 years here, I have witnessed the dedication of the RNLI volunteers, saving lives with courage and selflessness, which always left a deep impression on me. The William & Kate Johnston, a cornerstone of that maritime history, embodies the very spirit of this community: brave, resilient, and determined.

“That’s why I’m thrilled to support the WKJPS’s restoration project with this contribution. The thought of seeing this iconic lifeboat back on the Mersey, transformed into a museum and educational resource, fills me with immense pride. It would be a testament to our rich heritage and a beacon for future generations.

“I urge everyone who cherishes New Brighton’s and Merseyside’s maritime legacy, from Magazine Hotel guests to local residents, to join me in supporting this worthy cause. Together, let’s bring the William & Kate Johnston back home, where she rightfully belongs. It’s more than just a restoration; it’s an investment in our shared history and a promise for a brighter future.”

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