Thursday, 16 October 2014

South West Trains present a cheque for £1,000 to Swanage RNLI

On Saturday, 11th October a South West train made the trip from London Waterloo to Swanage full of passengers eager to travel along this picturesque section of track which, thanks to a recent agreement between Network Rail, Dorset County Council and Swanage Railway, will become a regular route in the future.

South West trains decided to donate funds towards the Swanage Lifeboat Station Appeal because of the support already given to them by the Swanage Railway at their Diesel Weekend last May. They chose the arrival of one of their trains in Swanage as the opportunity to present members from Swanage RNLI with a cheque for £1,000.

Swanage Lifeboat Fundraisers Chairperson, Angela Morris, said "South West trains have been keen to support our local project in particular as the train line from Swanage to Wareham is soon to become a reality."
Cheque presented to Neil Brooks, Gavin Steeden and Angela Morris by Phil Dominey, Stakeholder Manager South Western Railway.

Photo: Chris Caruana

Friday, 10 October 2014

Work to begin on construction of the new Swanage RNLI lifeboat station

November will mark the start of one of the RNLI’s biggest construction projects when work begins on the new Swanage lifeboat station. Over an 18-month period, the existing boathouse at Peveril Point will be demolished and a new facility will then be erected in its place. This will house one of the charity’s new state of the art Shannon class all weather lifeboats and serve the station for at least the next 80 years.
Designed by Dorset based team, consulting engineers Smith Foster and architects Morgan Design Studio Ltd, the new building will stand in exactly the same place as the old station that was constructed in 1875. As well as housing the Shannon class lifeboat, it will co-house the station’s D Class inshore lifeboat and provide modern facilities for crew training, office space, a warm changing room with toilets and showers and a workshop for the mechanic.

Christopher Refoy, RNLI Estates Construction Manager, says the project will be an exciting challenge for everyone involved:
‘This project has taken some considerable time to come to fruition. Building construction in the maritime environment is always interesting, and at times extremely challenging for both the designers and our Contractors. This project has its own particular characteristics, not least of which is the immensely constrained site. This is a huge challenge for both our Contractor, BAM Nuttall, and for our volunteer crew who will maintain the lifeboat service at Swanage without interruption throughout the duration of the works.’

The new boathouse will represent a £3.5 million investment, which will be met by the many generous donations made to the charity by the public, including some that have been left in legacies specifically for building projects. Over £200,000 of which has been raised by local RNLI fundraisers through the community, money which has been raised through local events, personal challenges, and overwhelming support from other RNLI fundraising branches.

Christopher continues:
‘Before building work can begin, the site for the temporary crew accommodation and contractors compound needs to be prepared. In November, work will begin in Swanage Boat Park to install the accommodation units that the lifeboat crew will use as temporary facilities, along with the Contractors accommodation and a unit to temporarily house Swanage Angling club. It is currently planned that the lifeboat station will become operational from its temporary accommodation in December, and demolition of the current lifeboat station will start in January.’

Throughout the duration of the build, both of Swanage’s lifeboats will remain fully operational. Neil Hardy, Swanage RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, says:
‘There’s no pretending that the next 18 months are going to be easy. The demands on the Coxswain and volunteer crew are going to be enormous and I thank them in advance for their patience and goodwill. But we will come out of the project with a superb new lifeboat station that will be a delight to the RNLI team here and a vital investment for the future of the RNLI in Swanage.

We’re spending this month clearing out the current station of non-operational items and putting them into storage. Our temporary buildings arrive at the beginning of November and we’ll then spend time moving into these and transferring over our operational equipment ready for the start of the build.’

Because of the need for space for the temporary facilities, Swanage Boat Park will be closed from the end of October 2014 to Spring 2016 when the build is completed. The public slipway will remain open subject to the on-going construction work. Where possible these periods of closure will be posted in advance on a dedicated website Via the website, boat users can also opt to be kept up to date by email or by following @swanageboatpark on twitter.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Costcutter donates over £2,000 to the Swanage Lifeboat Boathouse Appeal

A special scheme run through one of Costcutter’s suppliers, Nisa, enabled a percentage of profit on certain products sold through the Swanage shop to be collected for donation to a charity of the shop owner’s choice.
The total raised by the Swanage Costcutter was £2070.41 and the Tomes family, owners of the local shop, decided to donate the funds to Swanage Lifeboat Boathouse Appeal.

The local shop in Herston, today known as Costcutter, has been owned and run by the Tomes family for more than 100 years.

Family members Harry Tomes and his son Keith Tomes went to present the cheque the Swanage Lifeboat Station where Harry’s grandson, and Keith’s son, Darren Tomes is a volunteer lifeboat crew member.
Darren said “I am proud to be part of the successful family business. My grandfather has been involved with the business for over 60 years and I hope to see the business continue through the generations. My family have always been supportive of my voluntary role on the lifeboat, allowing me to run out of the butchery when my pager sounds. It was great to be able to make a donation to the appeal from the shop and the money go towards our future lifeboat station.”

Final preparations are being made for work to commence on the building of the new lifeboat station and setting up provisions for the temporary facilities that will house lifeboat crew kit and equipment in the boat park whilst the building work is underway.

It is expected that the Swanage Lifeboat will launch down the slipway of the current lifeboat station for the last time towards the end of 2014, marking the end of an era for the boathouse which has seen the Swanage lifeboats launch hundreds of times over the station’s 137 year history.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Blackmore Vale RNLI branch donate £39k to our appeal

The committee of the Blackmore Vale Branch of the RNLI visited the lifeboat station today. They very kindly came armed with a cheque for £38,978.08 which they have asked to be put towards our appeal for £200,000 towards the cost of our new lifeboat station.

Pictured, left to right are Peter Foster - Swanage Chairman, Dori Peat - Blackmore Vale Fair Organiser and Richard Sullivan - Blackmore Vale Chairman.

We're very grateful for all their hard work and support. We look forward to welcoming them back to the new lifeboat station in 2016.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Golfers look set to tee off in aid of the RNLI

Golfers enjoying a three day golf tournament which takes place on three different golf courses along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast in September 2014 will be raising vital funds for the RNLI volunteers along the coast. 

The unique Golf Pairs Tournament is three day competition which uses the Stableford scoring system. Starting on 21 September at Came Down Golf Club and taking place on consecutive days at, Lyme Regis Golf Club and Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club, the tournament will also be played in three different formats, Betterball, Greensomes and Foursomes.

The tournament also encompasses four nights Bed and Breakfast accommodation at the Riviera Hotel in Weymouth with a presentation dinner on the final day.

Peter Foster, one of the tournament organisers and the Swanage RNLI Lifeboat Station Appeal Chairperson says;

‘It promises to be a unique event, providing golfers with a fantastic opportunity to play against the spectacular backdrop of Dorset’s Jurassic coastline.

It seems entirely appropriate to use the event to raise funds for the volunteer RNLI crew from stations at Lyme Regis, Weymouth and Swanage who help save those in trouble at sea along this very coast. The money raised will go towards ensuring that they have training and equipment to be able to continue their lifesaving work.

Timed perfectly to coincide with the start of the Ryder Cup, the entry is limited to only 72 pairs. With places being booked up quickly, we’re urging golfers to get their entries in soon.’

Entry to the tournament costs £578 per pair, for more information and details on how to enter please visit or contact Tournament Director John Campbell at

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sherborne School’s housemaster spending Lent in a Tent for RNLI Swanage

Michael McGinty, the Abbey House housemaster at Sherborne School in Dorset is making his ultimate sacrifice for Lent this year, forgoing the comfort and warmth of his bed for 40 nights. Michael will spend Lent in a Tent to raise funds towards the cost of a new lifeboat station in Swanage, needed to house the town’s next lifeboat, an all-weather 25 knot Shannon class lifeboat. 
Michael, whose sons Alexander and Harry helped him come up with the idea, will also spend his 49th birthday which falls on Maundy Thursday (17 April) under canvas, he says;

‘We were out camping last year and started discussing what people gave up for lent, things like alcohol or processed food, but I really wanted to do something different and use the challenge to raise funds for charity. First of all I thought Lent in a Tent simply had a great ring to it, but slowly the plans started coming together and here I am two weeks into the challenge and so far so good.’

The pupils of Abbey House were inspired to select the RNLI as their chosen charity after a visit from Chief Executive Paul Bossier who delivered a powerful and inspiring lecture to the Sherborne pupils. 

Michael says;

‘Paul’s talk really struck a chord with the boys some of whom it was a surprise to hear that the lifesaving service was run by a charity, and that the lifeboat crew were made up of mainly volunteers. So when it came for Abbey House to choose a charity to support on a long term project, they were very keen to support the appeal for a new boathouse at Swanage RNLI.’   

Michael will sleep in his tent, which is pitched in the grounds of Sherborne School, until Easter Sunday. When asked what was the most challenging part of the experience he said;  

‘I don’t enjoy putting on a cold damp dressing gown each morning, and being woken at 5.20am by the dawn chorus at 5.20am is tiring.’

However, when asked what was the best part Michael said; 

‘Although tiring, waking up early to the sound of birds singing each morning is wonderful. However I am rather disappointed that the pupils have been behaving, I expected some kind of trickery from them but so far I’ve only had visits from the neighbourhood cats.’ 

Michael is aiming to raise £4,000 with an amazing £3,000 raised so far. To sponsor Michael’s efforts to spend Lent in a Tent visit his Just Giving page at  

Chris Copeland, Chairman of Sherborne RNLI Branch says;

 ‘Its incredibly kind of Michael to donate his idea and the funds raised to the RNLI. It didn’t take much persuasion to convince him of the importance of raising funds for the new lifeboat station in Swanage. The station will house, launch and protect the new lifeboat and provide much improved facilities for the volunteer crew including a changing and shower area, a fully-equipped crew training room, mechanics workshop, office space, and a base for the station’s D-class inshore lifeboat. The Sherborne RNLI fundraising volunteers are delighted to be able to support our colleagues with their appeal to raise £200,000 towards the project, and individuals as dedicated as Michael make the journey even more fun.’