Grandfather donates £5,000 legacy to RNLI

Richard Plowright's donation
Richard Plowright's donation

A grandfather and lifelong sailor  who has been told he has months to live has donated £5,000  to Scarborough RNLI as his lasting legacy.

Keen sailor, Richard Plowright has been sailing along the Scarborough coastline since 1958. Previously a member of the Filey Sailing Club for more than 30 years, he was a member at Scarborough Yacht Club in more recent years.

Enjoying a tour of the lifeboats

Enjoying a tour of the lifeboats

The 72-year-old, who lives in Thorner, West Yorkshire, created a list of all the things he wanted to do when he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and given a short time to live.

One cause close to his heart was the RNLI at Scarborough and Richard wanted to donate £5,000 to the cause in person.

His daughters, Gemma King and Charlotte Plowright said: “Although he had never needed to call out the lifeboat he said he felt safe in the knowledge that they were always on standby and he wanted to make a donation directly to them rather than giving it to the national RNLI.”

The family, who had a holiday cottage in Muston, has a strong connection to the East Coast and Gemma spoke of the many summers they enjoyedby the beach as Richard went sailing. He has sailed an enterprise dinghy and an osprey and most recently as part of a four-man Hunter 707 team.

Richard took part in national championships held on the East Coast and competed annually in the race to Amsterdam while sharing many happy memories with fellow members at the Yacht Club.

On Sunday September 25, Richard and his two daughters Gemma and Charlotte, son-in-law Matthew King and six-month old grandson Arthur, headed to the new lifeboat centre to present the donation.

Gemma added: “He thought it was absolutely fantastic.

“He really enjoyed the action and the opportunity to donate the money to the charity in person - that was really special for him. He wanted to be able to go and see everybody.”

They were met by crew Dave Jackson, Pete Billingsley, Rudi Barman, Jason Hedges, Sam Usher and Matt Jennings, who showed them round the Mersey and Shannon lifeboats.

The Mersey is the all-weather lifeboat being used in Scarborough at the moment. The Shannon is being used by local RNLI personnel for exercises in the run-up to receiving their own Shannon on 27 November.

A member of the RNLI for over 50 years, Richard was invited to the station’s official opening. The RNLI is looking to spend the donation on new equipment required for the new station and lifeboat.

After his diagnosis, Richard made a list of all the things he wanted to do which included going sailing with his grandson. Last week the family went to Ripon Sailing Club, where Richard is also a member, to fulfil this wish.

“We all went out sailing as a family. My son is just six months old but dad always wanted to teach his grandson how to sail,” said Gemma. “We had a lovely day.”

The family have been ticking off the different items on Richard’s list but donating the sum to Scarborough RNLI was very close to his heart.

Gemma added: “I would like to thank the lifeboat crew for giving us such a lovely welcome and making the day so special. It was nice to be able to create such beautiful memories.”

The family are appealing to find an Optimist (dinghy) which Richard built for Gemma to learn how to sail in as a child. When Gemma grew up they sold it but they are now hoping to find the boat so they can teach Arthur how to sail in the boat his grandfather built.

“We are hoping to find the boat so myself and Matthew can teach Arthur how to sail like dad has always wanted.It would be amazing if we could track it down and buy it back.”

The Optimist boat is number K3604 and the most recent record of it the family has found was in Ullswater Yacht Club in 2009. Anyone with details is asked to contact Gemma on