THE history of Swanage Lifeboat Station is being told at an exhibition at Durlston Castle.

Plans for a new £3.5million station to house Swanage RNLI’s next lifeboat were given the green light by Purbeck District Council earlier this summer.

Work is scheduled to start this autumn, ahead of the 2016 delivery of a 25-knot all-weather Shannon class lifeboat, the most advanced vessel in the RNLI fleet.

The new station will replace the old boathouse, which has been a part of Swanage in one guise or another for 139 years.

RNLI volunteer and exhibition curator Angela Morris, said: “Durlston provides the perfect venue to showcase the vitally important work undertaken by the RNLI.

“We are looking forward to demonstrating how ordinary local people have worked so hard in protecting lives at sea, the majority of these being volunteers.”

Local fundraisers are well over halfway through their appeal to raise a further £200,000 for the town’s new lifeboat station.

More activities will be taking part throughout Swanage Lifeboat Week, from August 8-17.

Swanage lifeboat operations manager Neil Hardy said: “Naturally, we’ll be sad to say goodbye to the current boathouse when the time comes. It is time to look to the future and the modern and upgraded facilities the new building will provide for the volunteer crew.”

The exhibition, at Durston Country Park’s Fine Foundation Gallery, will follow the history of Swanage RNLI, from the first lifeboat crew in 1875, through to the modern day.

The event will also feature a raffle prize, raising funds for the new station.

Dorset County Council environment and economy member Cllr Peter Finney said: “We are very proud to support the invaluable work of the RNLI and I’m delighted we can host this fascinating exhibition.”

The free exhibition takes place daily from 11.30pm to 5pm until August 25.