A VIRTUAL crowning ceremony will take place later this month to welcome Dunbar’s Lifeboat Queen.

The town’s RNLI usually holds a parade through the town and a lifeboat fete, which raises funds for the life-saving service.

However, coronavirus restrictions mean those have both been cancelled, with plans to crown Poppy Lees virtually on Saturday (August 21).

The youngster comes from a family with long-standing connections to Dunbar RNLI and the town’s fishing community, and has played her part in helping to fundraise for the lifeboat station.

The Lees family’s fishing heritage began with her great grandfather, who worked on the steam trawlers Cairnburn and Laura Paton.

Her grandfather Davie Lees carried on the steam trawler tradition in the 1950s as a member of the crew on the Findlay Paton and the diesel trawler Netta Croan before working on Port Seton seine netters including Jesmond, Lapwing and Silver Crest.

He started fishing on his own boats, which included The Mermaid, Barry B, Seaspray and four Triton vessels, with one of Poppy’s great uncles.

Poppy’s other great uncles also fished out of Port Seton and Eyemouth on their boats Concord and Auriga.

Davie Lees joined the lifeboat crew for a short period in the 1960s under coxswain Walter Easingwood and he also went on to become a deputy launching authority and operations manager.

Poppy’s dad Mark has been Dunbar RNLI chairman for the past nine years and has served on the management committee since 2007, while her great granny Jean Colley received recognition from the RNLI for her long service on the fundraising committee.

Poppy also follows in the footsteps of two relatives who have been previous Lifeboat Queens: cousin Rachael Lees and dad Mark’s cousin Susan Drummond.

Her family also helped fundraise for the lifeboats by selling sea urchins, or ‘granny hutchies’ as they are known at the harbour.

Although the usual lifeboat fete cannot go ahead as planned for the second year running, Poppy said she was delighted to be able to continue the Lifeboat Queen tradition that dates back to 1963.

She said: “It is a great tradition in Dunbar, not only because it has been going for a long time but because the lifeboat is thought of highly by the community of Dunbar and people are always keen to support it.

“I enjoy going down to the harbour and seeing all the boats and I am glad there is a lifeboat station at Dunbar because it can save people needing help, whether that is people who work at sea or go out to sea for leisure.

“I also enjoy being out on the water, as I like paddle boarding and it means that if I ever got in trouble in the sea it could help.”