The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s fleet of state-of-the-art inshore lifeboats has a new star cast member named after 60s actress and model, Julie Alexander.
Tower Lifeboat Station in London – the busiest of the RNLI’s 238 stations – hosted the naming ceremony as the inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat was christened Julie Poolie, after widower Robert Breckman’s pet name for his late wife. Julie and Robert were married in 1979 and she passed away in 2003.
Robert fully funded the £285,000 lifeboat in honour of Julie who was a top British model and actress in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She was known for playing glamorous roles including Rosalie Dawn in The Pure Hell of St Trinian’s (1960), and other credits include Hello London (1958), Operation Bullshine (1959), Dentist in the Chair (1960), The Terror of the Tongs (1961) and A Matter of WHO (1961).
Julie Poolie was accepted into the fleet by Janet Cooper OBE, Deputy Chair of the RNLI, who thanked Robert and his family for their support. During the naming ceremony some of Julie’s ashes – along with those of the couple’s beloved pet pug, Brian – were scattered by Robert into the River Thames accompanied by several red roses cast by friends and family.
The lifeboat will be part of the RNLI’s relief fleet but has already been instrumental in saving one life while on service at Kinsale, Ireland, and was also involved in the successful rescue of another four people.
Robert said: “This lifeboat is the best of its kind, I am assured of that, and the crews who will use it deserve nothing less. I am happy that it will be joining the RNLI fleet and helping the RNLI’s crews keep the waters around the UK and Ireland safe.’“
RNLI Deputy Chair Janet Cooper OBE said: “We are very grateful to Robert who, by funding this lifeboat, is allowing us to continue our vital lifesaving work – we owe a great debt of gratitude.’”