Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Our fundraisers celebrate the halfway point in their appeal.

Fundraisers at Swanage RNLI are celebrating this month after collecting over £100,000 in the first eight months of their charity appeal to raise £200,000. The money will go towards the cost of the new station needed to accommodate the town’s next lifeboat, which will be the 25 knot, all weather Shannon class. 
Credit: RNLI/Nigel Millard
The new Shannon will offer improved speed and manoeuvrability thanks to updated design techniques and water jet propulsion and is expected at Swanage in 2016, replacing the station’s current Mersey class lifeboat Robert Charles Brown.  

In July 2013, the Swanage RNLI fundraisers launched a special appeal to raise funds towards a new lifeboat station, which 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. Now, having reached the halfway mark in the appeal, the fundraisers have paused to thank the local community and supporters further afield for their invaluable support so far.

Peter Foster, RNLI Appeal Fundraising Chairperson says;

‘It’s been a busy, but fun eight months and events organised by the Swanage Fundraising Branch have included a fancy dress Mama Mia musical sing-along evening, a traditional barn dance, bowls and croquet competitions, the Great Swanage Bake Off and more, all of which have been supported fantastically well by the local community. We’ve also been honoured to have received some amazing support from the community outside of Swanage who have adopted and embraced our boathouse appeal.

We’re now at the half way point, the second half of the appeal is traditionally the hardest as the initial enthusiasm wears off, but I don’t believe this to be true in Swanage. I think the station, the fundraisers and the local community have the motivation to keep going with a big push to try and reach our target in 2014.’

Some of the support received by the Swanage fundraisers includes the Fordingbridge RNLI Fundraising Branch who raised a staggering £15,000 by abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower in 2013. In February they raised £3,000 hosting a charity auction and are busy planning more events for 2014. 

In December, the Blackmore Vale RNLI Fundraising Branch donated an astonishing £30,000 raised during their annual Michaelmas Fair. . While the charity’s fundraising teams in Yeovil, Wareham and Wilton have collectively raised £10,000 through coffee mornings, talks, garden parties, raffles and other fundraising events

The volunteer lifeboat crew have also played their part, hosting Swanage’s annual Lifeboat Week during the summer and organising a car wash for the RNLI’s SOS Day at the end of January. The Purbeck Runners continue to support the RNLI in Swanage and last year donated £1500 to the appeal. While the Captain and Lady Captain of The Dorset Golf & Country Club are raising funds this year for the Swanage Boathouse Appeal
Some of the fundraising events planned for 2014 include;

15 March – Auction of Promises with the Lion’s Club
9-11 May – Official charity for the Diesel Gala weekend
20 June - Purbeck Runners 10 K and BBQ
17 July – Golf Day at Rushmore Estate
08 to 17 August – Swanage Lifeboat week
21 to 24 September – Jurassic Coast Golf Tournament

Neil Hardy, the RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager credit’s the appeals success to the determination of the local community to support the volunteer crew who provide a much needed lifesaving service in the town, he says;

‘Swanage RNLI holds a special place in many people’s hearts and we have had tremendous support, not just from our friends in the local community, but also that of people who, although they don’t live here, are fond of Swanage or who use the water’s nearby and want to offer their help. We’re of course very grateful and looking forward to the next stage of the appeal and the friendships it brings.’

To find out more about the events planned or donate to their charity appeal, visit the station’s blog at You can also donate £5 simply by texting RNLI SWANAGE to 70300.