Cromer Lifeboat in Flowers

There have been some unusual lifeboats - and one of them was the Ruby and Arthur Reed lifeboat, created in flowers at the Tulip Parade in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

When the parade was at its prime in the 1970s the float designer would created metal frames for 30 or 40 floats, and the tulip industry would be busy for a couple of days before the parade putting the tulip heads onto the floats. The heads came from the thousands of tulips which had been grown to provide bulbs for sale across the country.

In the 1970s the Spalding fund-raising branch of the RNLI persuaded the organisers to support the Institution through a float in the parade and a static display in town. The float was designed to look like Cromer's Ruby and Arthur Reed and for the parade Cromer's lifeboat mechanic Donny Abbs and crewman 'Eggy' Love sat on the boat and waved to the huge crowd watching.

The Spalding branch have always made a point of supporting the Cromer station; their fund-raising at that time enabled the purchase of a new radio for the Cromer boat and Donny Abbs can be seen sitting at the radio on the actual lifeboat.