A LIFEBOAT that played a key role in a dramatic rescue a century ago will be at sea this weekend.

The William Riley of Birmingham and Leamington will be rowed 20 miles from Scarborough to Whitby on Saturday in memory of the man who started it – Scarborough’s Malcolm Colin Bell, who died in a diving accident off Hartlepool in 2009.

A team of ten, led by coxswain Tom Clark, will be at the oars of the 105-year-old boat, which belongs to the Whitby Historic Lifeboat trust.

In 1914 the vessel helped rescue occupants of the Rohilla hospital ship, off Whitby. She was hand-hauled from Upgang and lowered down a 200ft cliff. But of the 229 onboard the ship, only 145 survived.

The former lifeboat now tours the country raising funds for the RNLI and other worthy causes.

The crew are being sponsored, with proceeds going towards a Supacat launch-and-recovery vehicle for Scarborough’s new lifeboat.