AN HISTORIC lifeboat touring the south coast which has saved more than 200 lives in its career will finish its tour in Poole this May. 

One of the last RNLI Arron Class lifeboats, the Sir William Arnold 52-02 which retired 1997, will finish its south coast tour in Poole on May 16 after a month and a half of travels. 

The lifeboat, which has been in private ownership since it retired, won 15 medals in its career and saved 223 lives over 30 years of saving lives at sea and served in St Peter Port in Guernsey. 

Crew member, Sarah Trundle, 25, said: "I was actually put forward for the opportunity to be aboard her and to be a part of this. I don't know how to explain it but it's a once in a lifetime opportunity that I knew I'd love to be a part of.  

"All of us on board are voluntary members of staff at the moment so there's quite a few of us and we range from the age of 15 up to 60 plus."

Starting in Burnham-on-Crouch, the team has slowly made its around the coast, with the boat currently stopped in Ramsgate. 

Delayed by bad weather, it hasn't stopped the team help the RNLI celebrate its 200th anniversary by bringing the public onto the boat and getting in touch with lifeboat stations. 

Sarah said: "Most of the people we've had on board are families with younger kids. They can actually say when they're a bit older and when they look back, 'oh I do want to learn a bit more about this'.

"For me, it's helping the younger generation as well as the older generation to be able to learn about the RNLI, what they do, how they do it, and the risks they take."

The Sir William was awarded a gold medal in December 1981 for rescuing 29 people from a sinking vessel. 

Now a 'floating museum', Sarah believes its a great example of the RNLI'S important work. 

Adult tickets are £5 for adults while under 16s go free with all proceeds going to maintenance of the boat.