Just before Christmas (2014), we announced that the appeal had reached the £125,000 mark, and now, a mere three months later, the generosity of our friends and supporters has meant that we’ve reached our overall local target.
Members of Ilfracombe RNLI’s volunteer crew, including Head Launchers, Tractor Drivers and Mechanics, gathered with fundraising committee Secretary Lynda Rodd and Lifeboat Operations Manager Chris Wallis at the lifeboat station this morning (Sunday 1 March) to celebrate the news.
Chris said: ‘When we first set our local target we knew that we could rely on the community to give generously, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has dug deep and done exactly that.
‘What we weren’t expecting, however, was such huge support from outside our local area, and yet we have been surprised and thankful to find that over the two years that the appeal has been running, the people of Barnstaple and Braunton have stepped up and helped raise a massive £15,000 specifically for our appeal. We give our thanks to the Barnstaple Fundraising Branch members and supporters for this incredible boost.’
Fundraising for the appeal has not been restricted to Ilfracombe and Barnstaple areas, however. The Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire Branch, which raised the bulk of the £600,000 needed to fund the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat, Spirit of Derbyshire, over 25 years ago, has kept close ties with our lifeboat station and raised an incredible £12,000 towards our launch and recovery vehicle appeal. On behalf of Ilfracombe RNLI, Chris also wanted to thank our friends from this land-locked area;
‘The support that has been shown to us over the years by the dedicated members and supporters of the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire Branch is fantastic. To be so far from the sea and still manage to raise such large amounts of money for the RNLI is quite an achievement, and to raise this £12,000 specifically for our station is incredibly generous.
‘Our thanks go to everyone who has given of their time, effort and of course money to help Ilfracombe RNLI reach our £150,000 target in such a short period of time.’
The launch and recovery vehicle appeal at Ilfracombe RNLI has now ended, however, that doesn’t mean that fundraising at the lifeboat station is stopping. Lynda Rodd, volunteer fundraising committee Secretary, commented;
‘The RNLI relies on donations to keep afloat,’ she explained. ‘It costs £195,000 a year to run an all-weather lifeboat station, around £1,400 a year for training for each crew member and over £2,500 to kit each crew member for the inshore and all-weather lifeboats. Approximately six out of every ten launches are only possible due to legacies, but it is only possible to keep the charity going, to launch the lifeboats around the country and save lives at sea, because of the money that is donated to us by the public. Every penny placed in a collecting tin, every raffle ticket or cup of tea bought at an event, it all goes to enabling our brave volunteer crew members to carry out their lifesaving work.
‘We’re so grateful to everyone who has helped us with the appeal,’ Lynda added, ‘and we hope that the generosity and support that has been shown to Ilfracombe RNLI will continue. Hopefully we’ll see everyone at our Easter event, keep an eye out for the details!’
There are exciting times ahead for Ilfracombe RNLI. Over the next couple of months the lifeboat station works will be finished and the volunteers will be moving everything back in, including the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire and the D-class inshore lifeboat Deborah Brown II. Within weeks, the launch and recovery vehicle will be arriving at the station, and then it won’t be long before the new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, The Barry and Peggy High Foundation, arrives to begin her 50 years expected service at Ilfracombe lifeboat station.
In amongst the activity, there will be intensive training on the new equipment for each crew member, boat and shore crew alike. There will be fundraising events, with the inaugural Ilfracombe RNLI Sponsored Walk having entry opening soon. Should you wish to get involved, volunteers from Ilfracombe RNLI are having a number of informal get togethers at different locations around town, where you can come along and find out what we do, and what you can offer us. The first of these will be at the Manor House Café (next to the Co-op) on Wednesday 25 March from 2.30pm – 5.00pm, and we’d love to see you there.
To keep up to date with all the news from Ilfracombe RNLI, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/IlfracombeRNLI), Twitter (@IlfracombeRNLI), or keep an eye out in local press. For information on how you can get involved, please contact Lynda Rodd on email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RNLI notes to editors
• Please find a photograph attached showing volunteers from Ilfracombe RNLI thanking everyone who has helped to reach the £150,000 appeal target. Please credit RNLI/Ilfracombe.
• Please find a photograph attached showing the volunteers with the £150,000 celebration cake. Please credit RNLI/Ilfracombe.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Suzie Tubby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Ilfracombe RNLI, on 07961 317088 or email Suzie_Tubby@rnli.org.uk, or contact Emma Haines, RNLI Press Officer (South West) on 07786 668847 or email@example.com.