Plans to renovate a vintage Fleetwood lifeboat have received a new boost.
The 41ft vessel Ann Letitia Russell, which helped save 157 lives with Fleetwood RNLI from 1939 to 1976, had been rotting away at Lowestoft marina for years.
But a group of Fleetwood volunteers formed the Ann Letitia Rescue Group and brought the boat back to Fleetwood last summer, to renovate and restore.
Now the Ann Letitia Rescue Group has been awarded charity status – meaning the group will be able to raise vital extra funds by collecting during events such as Tram Sunday.
Jeff Jackson, a member of the rescue group, said: “To get this status is excellent news.
“Anything that can help us raise more funds is a good thing.
“We have a fair amount to raise, still, so it’s very welcome.”
The group has so far stumped up an impressive £9,000 from a combination of fundraisers and donations, but they need a total of £30,000 to finish the job.
That entails removing all the parts of the boat which aren’t original, from the time it was turned into a house boat, and returning the vessel to its stripped down-form as a lifeboat.
The work is continuing at a site on Fleetwood docks.
Jeff added: “Most of the de-construction has been done – soon we’ll be ready from the re-construction.”
Three potential sites on Fleetwood’s promenade are being looked at for the eventual siting of the vintage lifeboat.
The favoured site is a spot near the Lower Lighthouse, close to where she was original based during her time as a working lifeboat in Fleetwood.
It is hoped the ambitious project, which is well supported in Fleetwood, can be completed by the vessel’s 80th birthday, at the end of 2018.