Your help needed to fund new lifeboat

Coxswain Gary Bird launches the �275,000 appeal towards a new lifeboat with crew members Phil Da Silva, Tom Stuart, Andy Coyle and Ben McGarry
Coxswain Gary Bird launches the �275,000 appeal towards a new lifeboat with crew members Phil Da Silva, Tom Stuart, Andy Coyle and Ben McGarry
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Lytham St Annes RNLI volunteers have launched their own call for help to raise £275,000 towards the cost of their next lifeboat.

In 2018, Lytham’s current all-weather Mersey class lifeboat Her Majesty The Queen, is set to be replaced by the newest member of the RNLI fleet, a Shannon class craft.

The first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets instead of propellers, the Shannon has a top speed of 25 knots, is highly manoeuvrable and well-suited to the shallow conditions of the Fylde coast.

The bulk of the funding for the £2.2m Shannon will come from the legacy of Miss Barbara Anne Cameron Roberts from Winchester.

She was a long-term supporter of the charity who died in 2013 and the new Lytham St Annes lifeboat is set to be named Barbara-Anne in her honour.

The appeal will help the RNLI meet the shortfall - and it will be officially launched to the public at the Lytham St Annes station open day on July 31.

Lytham RNLI Coxswain Gary Bird said: “We are very attached to our Mersey and she has served us well for many years, but everyone at the station is very excited at the prospect of receiving a Shannon.

“It’s an incredible lifeboat and the advanced technology means we’ll be able to reach people in trouble at sea a lot more quickly than we can at the moment.

“We know £275,000 is a lot of money to raise but the people of Fylde, in Lancashire generally and across the North West have always been very supportive of the RNLI.

“I’m confident they will get behind the appeal and help us fund our new lifeboat, which will be saving lives off the Lancashire coast for many years to come.”

Digby Moulden, volunteer chairman of the Lytham RNLI fund-raising committee, added: “We know it’s going to be hard work raising £275,000 towards the cost of our new lifeboat but everyone involved with the RNLI in Lytham St Annes is doing their bit towards the appeal.

“We are holding our RNLI Open Day at the station on July 31, when the appeal will be launched to the public and visitors will have the chance to find out more about the Shannon.

“Other events on the horizon include a golf day in Chester and a sponsored walk but we are hoping members of the public, schools, companies and other organisations across the North West will get behind the appeal and hold their own fundraising events to support the appeal.”

A new Shannon class lifeboat, named the Kenneth James Pierpoint, has recently been brought into operation at Fleetwood RNLI station,

The Shannon Launch and Recovery System, which also has to come with the Barbara Anne, costs £1.5 million but the RNLI will be funding that.

It does mean, however, that the RNLI is spending £3.7 million for new equipment on the Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station by 2018.

The RNLI, a charity receiving no government funding, has a long history of lifesaving on the Fylde coast, with the ill-fated rescue of the German barque Mexico in 1886, when 27 crew members of the St Annes and Southport lifeboats lost their lives, remaining the worst disaster in RNLI history.

The open day at the Lytham St Annes boathouse on South Promenade on July 31 will run from 11am to 4pm and for the first time has been scheduled to coincide with the town’s Kite Festival, which has attracted ever-increasing numbers of visitors in recent years.

A wide range of attractions at the open day will include a 6.5 metre model of the Shannon lifeboat.

To support the Lytham RNLI Shannon Lifeboat Appeal, call 0300 300 9902, email sophie_wood@rnli.org.uk or visit www.rnli.org.uk/lythamstannesappeal