June 3rd 2011
The Queen Victoria arrived by RNLI Transport via the Isle of Wight ferry late on Thursday afternoon of June 2nd. On Friday June 3rd several of us went to see her and meet up with Martin Woodward, the ex-Coxswain of Bembridge Lifeboat and main instigator of the renovation of the Queen Victoria.
There were a few problems on the day. Mark Buxton, the Museumís Horseman, inspected the wheels of the jockey wheels and declared that they werenít safe enough to use with the horses. The Museum had one which could be used instead but we had to wait until the next day to talk to Robert Sampson who was to use four of his Percheron horses to pull the Queen Victoria around the show arena at the Weald and Downland Heavy Horse and Working Animals Show the following day.
We also discovered that the vehicle that was going to be used to pull the Queen Victoria to Selsey didnít have the correct hitch and so frantic phone calls were made and a tractor booked from Russell Broadbridge of Nunnington Farm, West Wittering, to be at the Weald and Downland the following day after the show had finished.
June 4th 2011
The day of the Weald and Downland Heavy Horse Show dawned bright, sunny and very hot. We all arrived quite early, erected the gazebo and Martin prepared the Queen Victoria. Lots of people started arriving at the show and many of them took the time to inspect the boat.
It then got to the time the Queen Victoria was to be paraded around the show ring and it was decided that, for safetyís sake, a tractor would have to do the job since Robert Sampson, the man who was going to use his horses to pull the Queen Victoria around the streets of Selsey the following day, felt it safer to try them all out together later on in the day when there were fewer people around.
The Queen Victoria looked splendid as she was pulled round the ring and John and Martin explained to the crowds all about Selsey Lifeboatís 150th Anniversary Celebrations and the role that the Queen Victoria was to play.
There were several displays during the afternoon and one of the best was the steam fire pump being pulled round the ring at high speed to reach a fire. The power of the water jet was to be seen to be believed.
Then it was time for Robert Sampson to test the horses with the jockey wheels and the boat. Luckily, it all went well and it was declared that everything would go ahead as planned the following day. Phew!
Russell Broadbridge arrived with his tractor, the bits and pieces needed for the following day loaded on to a truck, and then we were off! The tractor pulled the Queen Victoria up and over Goodwood and we had a job to keep up with him in the truck. Arriving safely in Selsey the Queen Victoria was put on to the Lifeboat Green ready for the following dayís celebrations.