Scarborough’s Lifeboat Weekend has been cancelled as the town’s fundraising group folds after 22 years.
The Scarborough Lifeboat Support Group, which raises money locally under the Scarborough Lifeboat banner, has decided to call an end to its fundraising efforts.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised by the group over the past two decades through a variety of events, including Scarborough’s annual Lifeboat Weekend.
The move to fold the group comes after changes to RNLI fundraising structures, which means money raised in Scarborough will no longer go directly to Scarborough’s lifeboat and its crew.
Brenda Horton, secretary of the Scarborough Lifeboat Support Group, said: “I’m heartbroken. We are all heartbroken and we apologise to all our supporters, sponsors, so many people who have given of their time for free to entertain so many over the years, that’s literally millions of people, we are so sorry.”
Previously all money raised by the Scarborough Lifeboat group was ring fenced by the RNLI within a ‘restricted fund’ to support local, necessary purchases which the RNLI central funding would otherwise have needed to cover.
The Groups says in the past the national charity also backed up and sponsored local events, printed posters, programmes and other advertising displays to support their activities.
In a statement from the Scarborough Lifeboat Group in light of their collapse a spokesman said: “We had an agreed approach with the RNLI that acknowledged the strong desire of local people and visitors to support the Scarborough Lifeboat.”
The statement confirmed the Group recently called a meeting during which it was decided to no longer operate following recent decisions within the RNLI. The Group says the main reasons behind its decision are “not having separate banners of fundraising and concerns of the impact this could have on local fundraising”.
In the past 22 years the Scarborough Lifeboat Group’s purchases have included a quad bike for launch and recovery of the inshore lifeboat, and a laser plotter for the all weather lifeboat among others.
Mrs Horton said: “We’ve raised tens upon tens of thousands of pounds with both ourselves and many others being entertained and having exciting fun fundraising.
“The work of the Group has brought high recognition from the RNLI hierarchy for six of its members through the award of three silver and one bronze badge as well as two citations on certificates.”
The RNLI has released the following statement.
A spokeswoman said: “The RNLI has recently combined three separate volunteer fundraising branches in Scarborough to create one new fundraising group called the Friends of Scarborough Lifeboat.
“This was formed with the support and agreement of Scarborough lifeboat station, the station’s fundraising branch and the local RNLI volunteer fundraising guild, who will be continuing their great work in support of their local lifeboat station.
“However, members of the Scarborough Lifeboat Support Group took the decision not to join the Friends.
“The change brings RNLI fundraising in Scarborough into line with what happens around the country. The administration of RNLI funds raised in Scarborough will now be more straightforward and streamlined and we also hope the formation of the Friends will end local confusion caused by having a number of different RNLI fundraising groups.
“This change is meant to enhance rather than hinder local fundraising and we are sure that the people of Scarborough will continue to give their local lifeboat crew their full support.
“Money to run RNLI lifeboat stations comes from a number of sources - legacy income, corporate support, trusts and national fundraising as well as community fundraising.
“However, money raised for the RNLI in Scarborough can still be used to support the local lifeboat station if that is the donor’s wishes.
“Equipment is provided from our charitable funds following authorisation from the RNLI Divisional Inspector, who works closely with the lifeboat crew to identify what equipment and training is needed at each lifeboat station.
“In this way, we make the very best use of the funds donated to our charity.
“The RNLI is very grateful to the members of Scarborough Lifeboat Support Group for all their hard work over the years.
“We are sorry that they chose not to work with us as part of the new Friends of Scarborough Lifeboat but we wish them well for all they may do in the future.”