Peterhead visit for coxswain relatives

The Julia Park Barry lifeboat in action
The Julia Park Barry lifeboat in action

A group of around 20 people travelled to Peterhead from Corby to pay a visit to the town’s historic lifeboat, the Julia Park Barry of Glasgow on Saturday, October 5.

The vessel, positioned on the Smith Embankment where it awaits restoration, saved many lives under the watchful eye of its coxswain John Buchan McLean, known by his local by-name “Tondin’s Jock”.

Descendants of McLean, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren, made the trip north upon hearing of its return to its home port.

The eldest grandson, Michael Thoirs and his sister Jane, vividly recalled the vessel and were touched by its presence in port.

Michael said: “When we saw she had been up for sale in Nelson’s Yard in Northern Ireland, I considered the prospect of buying her myself but she belongs in Peterhead and I hope that good care is taken during restoration.”

The Thoirs strand of the family moved south when Michael was 6, having been originally brought up on Lodge Walk, a stone’s throw from the old Lifeboat Station.

The family spent some time aboard the vessel before visiting the RNLI station and with the kind assistance of lifeboat crew Paul and James Whitham, were allowed aboard the town’s current lifeboat.

The family visited an exhibition curated by the Family History Society of Buchan the next day where they were given a customary warm welcome by Margie Davidson.

Dawn Colling, family member who initiated the visit said: “It was a delight to be able to view and board the Julia Park Barry. Mick and Jane are the only two who had seen the boat during their childhood. For the rest of us it was the first time. An added surprise was to see the modern lifeboat which was as amazing as the Julia Park Barry.

“Margie has done extremely well with the exhibition so far. We had a very enjoyable and successful weekend.”