The Wells Shannon Appeal reached the quarter-of-a-million pound mark this month following a Herculean effort of fundraising by the local community & lifeboat supporters across the country.
The appeal was launched at the beginning of June 2014 and set a target of eighteen months to raise the £250,000 by the end of November this year.
The money raised will go towards the £2.1million cost of a state-of-the-art new Shannon class lifeboat at Wells-next-the-Sea, replacing the current Mersey class, which after 25 years is nearing the end of its operational life with the RNLI.
Peter Rainsford, Wells Lifeboat Station Chairman, said: ‘to have raised £250,000 in just 17 months is quite frankly extraordinary and testament to the dedication of our volunteer fundraisers and the incredible generosity shown by the Wells community and supporters from further afield.
‘My deepest thanks go to the cake bakers, rowers, swimmers, runners, bikers, singers, golfers, event organisers and everyone else who gave their time and energy to generously raise money for our appeal.
‘All those involved should feel proud of the fact they will have directly contributed to enabling our volunteer lifeboat crew to save lives at sea for many years to come.’
The Shannon is the charity’s latest class of lifeboat. She uses water jet propulsion instead of propellers. This makes her more manoeuvrable and agile in difficult seas. As with other all-weather lifeboats she will be self-righting in the event of capsize and will be able to cope with the roughest of conditions.
Allen Frary, Coxswain at Wells RNLI, said: ‘Thank you to everyone who has donated sums of money large or small. Our Mersey class lifeboat has served us well but the new Shannon will be faster and more manoeuvrable which will better enable us to save lives at sea.
‘The Shannon also has a lot of features which will make it safer for the crew to operate when they are risking their own safety to save others. We are very grateful to everyone who got involved in the appeal.’
With money still coming in from fundraising events, the Wells Shannon Appeal is expected to overshoot its £250,000 target. Any money raised from now on will go towards the funding of a new boathouse to house the Shannon as she is larger than her predecessor. As part of this, the RNLI will be broadening its fundraising efforts to appeal to businesses in the wider region to provide corporate support.
The total cost of the Shannon class lifeboat, her launch and recovery equipment and boathouse will be £5.5 million. As well as the money raised locally, this figure will be met though legacies, donations and the fundraising efforts of the civil service charity, The Lifeboat Fund, which has pledged to raise £1.1million towards the new Shannon for Wells RNLI.
For further information contact: John Mitchell, Wells Lifeboat Press Officer
07831 103166/01328 710230 firstname.lastname@example.org
• John Mitchell, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer (Wells) 01328 710230 / 07831 103166 / email@example.com
• James Oxley RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207425 / 07786 668825 / firstname.lastname@example.org
• Sophie Coller-Nielsen RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / email@example.com
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789