Celebrations after RNLI smashes target

Scarborough RNLI's volunteer crew say thanks in front of their current all-weather lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs. Photo by Dave Barry.
Scarborough RNLI's volunteer crew say thanks in front of their current all-weather lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs. Photo by Dave Barry.

Scarborough RNLI is celebrating after smashing its £200,000 target towards the cost of a bespoke launch and recovery vehicle for its new £2million lifeboat.

Since a major fundraising campaign was launched in September 2013, a variety of events have been held to raise money, including sponsored tractor pulls, boat pulls, cycle ride, Dickensian Fairs and race nights.

The appeal also received a vital boost from the Yorkshire Post’s Christmas Appeal, which saw £17,000 raised by readers to give it the final push needed to secure the specialist equipment.

The Supacat system is required to launch the charity’s state-of-the-art Shannon class lifeboat, which is set to arrive in 2016.

John Senior, Scarborough RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: ‘On behalf of everyone at Scarborough RNLI, I would like to say a massive thank you for the staggering support that we have received for the appeal, not just from the local community and businesses, including The Scarborough News, but from supporters far and wide.

“In just 16 months it’s truly overwhelming that we’ve managed to hit our £200,000 target and we couldn’t have done it without the generosity of the general public and our supporters.

“Our volunteer crew is looking forward to starting their next chapter of lifesaving when the Shannon class and Supacat system arrives. Naturally though, everyone will be very sad to bid farewell to our current lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs, as she nears the end of her operational life.”

Also offering thanks, Hannah Brankling, RNLI community fundraising manager, said: “Thanks must also go to our volunteer fundraising committee and everyone at the lifeboat station who has worked tirelessly to ensure that we reached our goal. It has been a great team effort and I’m sure there will be a real sense of pride when the Supacat arrives on station.”

Meanwhile the demolition of Scarborough’s historic lifeboat house was due to take place this week.

However, the RNLI is yet to confirm the exact date it will be razed to the ground.

Since December the crew have been based out of a temporary home in the harbour as they wait for their new £3 million headquarters to be built.

When the 74-year-old lifeboat house closed its doors for the final time, the occasion was marked by crew members past and present.

Watched by hundreds of people, the landmark event was commemorated with a service led by lifeboat chaplain Pam Jennings and attended by RNLI personnel, supporters and Mayor of Scarborough Pat Marsburg.

The new lifeboat station has been designed by long-established York architects Brierley Groom, who have considerable experience on RNLI projects, and is expected to take around a year to build.

It will offer the necessary extra space required to store the larger Shannon class lifeboat and her bespoke Supacat vehicle, and will also upgrade the volunteer crew’s facilities with extra space for lifesaving training and a drying room for their kit. It includes a purpose-built workshop and storage space, both necessary to support the Shannon class lifeboat. A space will also be created to enable the charity’s lifeguards to store their equipment for their summer safety patrols.