Dedicated RNLI fund-raisers are celebrating after a major campaign to collect £200,000 towards a new state-of-the-art lifeboat has been reached – one month ahead of schedule.
The ambitious target, to help bring a Shannon-class vessel to Amble, was achieved on Sunday during a coffee morning at the charity’s lifeboat station in the harbour town.
The new lifeboat is currently being built at the RNLI’s All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, Dorset, and it is hoped that it will be in service later this year.
It will be named Elizabeth and Leonard in memory of a couple whose legacy will help partially to fund the vessel.
The money-making appeal was launched in July 2014, with the aim of hitting the £200,000 target by July 2016.
The cash has been raised in a number of ways, including through the Northumberland Gazette’s Jam Jar Army campaign last year.
Katrina Cassidy, chairman of Amble Lifeboat Fund-raisers (ALF), said: “On behalf of everyone at ALF, I’d like to say a massive thank-you for the overwhelming support that we’ve received for the appeal, not just from the local community, schools, council and businesses, but from supporters far and wide.
“In just 23 months it’s truly amazing that we’ve managed to hit our £200,000 target and we couldn’t have done it without the generosity of the general public, our supporters and the time and effort put in by members of ALF as well as other RNLI fund-raising guilds.
“We were also boosted by the Gazette’s Jam Jar Army campaign, which raised the profile of the appeal across the North East, resulting in jam jars of pennies and coppers literally rolling through the doors.
“It’s been an emotional journey, that couldn’t have been possible without the fantastic support of the people and businesses in Amble who continuously amaze me with their generosity and support for a cause which is close to all our hearts.”
The Shannon, which has a top speed of 25 knots and is the RNLI’s most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat, will replace Amble’s current all-weather lifeboat, The Four Boys.
The fund-raising Harbour Day in the town is in August.