Jam Jar Army winner revealed

A Shannon class lifeboat. Picture by RNLI Nathan Williams
A Shannon class lifeboat. Picture by RNLI Nathan Williams

The votes are in and the Gazette can now reveal that the 2015 Jam Jar Army beneficiary will be the Amble Shannon Appeal.

Dozens of readers had their say on which of the six nominees they wanted to be supported by the campaign in its fifth year.

The voting was incredibly tight with the top three separated by just a few votes. The five others were Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick; Berwick & District Friends of Dementia; Great North Air Ambulance; Hippotherapy Northumberland and Samaritans of Northumbria.

Amble Lifeboat Fundraisers (ALF), along with RNLI Amble Management Committee, have been set a target of raising £200,000 by July 2016 to bring a much-needed and modern Shannon lifeboat to Amble to replace the current Mersey-class boat.

Committee members have been frantically raising funds since the launch in July 2014 of the Amble Shannon Appeal, with their regular coffee mornings and car-boot sales, as well as family entertainment evenings, catwalk shows, sponsored events and their yearly Harbour Day in August.

The committee and ALF, however, cannot raise this amount on their own and have enlisted the help of groups and the public across Northumberland to help.

One lifeboat-supporting couple even took donations instead of wedding gifts at their Christmas Eve wedding last year, and another couple are doing a similar thing with their 30th wedding anniversary.

Through the use of social media, the committee is striving to raise the money and to date has raised more than £40,000, but there is still a long way to go to get the modern and safer boat for the volunteer lifeboat crew of Amble.

Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “I am delighted that the Amble Shannon Appeal has won our reader poll this year and hope its year as Jam Jar Army beneficiary will be as successful as the previous four.

“The community in Amble has already taken this appeal to its heart and I’m sure the wider north Northumberland community will be as generous in supporting this worthy cause as it has been since we first launched the Jam Jar Army in 2011.”

Amble will be one of the first lifeboat stations in the north of England to receive a £2million state-of-the-art Shannon, which is the smallest, most agile all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.

It is also the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets instead of propellers and, with a top speed of 25 knots; 50 per cent faster than the vessels she replaces.