Rescue volunteers at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in St Annes were left ‘gobsmacked’ after a mystery good samaritan donated a huge sum to their campaign for a new lifeboat.
The mysterious benefactor’s generous donation of £48,000 allowed the RNLI to close its appeal less than three months after its launch.
We were absolutely gobsmacked to hear that someone wanted to donate almost the full cost of the lifeboatMartin Jaggs
The money will go towards buying a new inshore lifeboat for the service.
Martin Jaggs, who works as a mechanic at the Lytham St Annes RNLI, said everyone at the lifeboat station was amazed by the donation.
He said: “We were expecting to spend many months raising money to fund the new D class lifeboat.
“So we were absolutely gobsmacked to hear that someone wanted to donate almost the full cost of the lifeboat.”
The mystery supporter of the lifesaving charity was inspired after witnessing the lifeboat crew in action in 2011, when they launched a massive search and rescue operation to save around 100 cockle pickers who had got into difficulties on the Ribble Estuary.
Their vast donation means that the 18-month lifeboat appeal, which was launched at the Lytham St Annes RNLI Fun Day in July, can now be closed – making it the shortest appeal the charity has ever run in the region.
The new lifeboat will come into action when the station’s current vessel – nicknamed Sally – retires late next year.
RNLI lifeboat operation manager Pete Whalley, 64, who has worked with the lifeboat service for more than 30 years, said: “We really don’t know who it is who donated the money but obviously they are rather kind.
“It really shows how much people appreciate the lifeboat service.
“We don’t receive any money from the government so we appreciate every penny we can get.
“Raising £48,000 is quite a daunting challenge, so someone donating the whole amount is fantastic.”