Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Dorset man donates £250,000 to Swanage RNLI

The volunteer lifeboat crew at Swanage RNLI are celebrating after receiving a massive donation of £250,000 towards the cost of their new lifeboat station. The donation was made by Mr Gronow Davis who owns the 7,500 acre Rushmore Estate. Mr Davis specified the donation to go towards the cost of the crew’s new training room, kit and training.

Since becoming a supporter of the RNLI in 2011 Mr Gronow Davis has become committed to supporting the work of the charity. Earlier in 2014 Mr Gronow Davis ran an annual golf day in aid of the Swanage Lifeboat Station Appeal, raising a staggering £25,000 and proving to be just the start of Mr Gronow Davis’ support for Swanage RNLI.

Following a recent visit to current station to meet the volunteer crew and to see the all-weather lifeboat in action, Mr Gronow Davis pledged to donate £250,000 to fund the cost of building a fully equipped training room, the crew’s comprehensive training and all their essential kit to keep them safe and warm at sea. 

Mr Gronow Davis owns the 7,500 acre Rushmore Estate which incorporates The Larmer Tree Gardens, Rushmore Golf Club and Tollard Park Equestrian Centre. Rushmore is contained within the Cranborne Chase an ancient deer forest where King John came to hunt.

Much of the present day character of the Estate was shaped by Lt. General Pitt Rivers who inherited the Estate in 1880. He created a deer park and ornamental parkland where today the Rushmore Park Golf Course is located, and carried out a wide variety of landscape planting including what are now spectacular beech avenues and belts. He went on to create the Larmer Tree Pleasure Gardens for the entertainment and enlightenment of the local people. 

The preservation and restoration of the Estates heritage is largely due to the enthusiasm of the General's great-grandson Michael Pitt Rivers who was owner of Rushmore from the 1950's until 1999. During this time there has been steady renovation of estate farms and domestic dwellings and a programme of restoration to re-vitalise the landscape and re-create the species rich grassland formerly associated with the Park. The Larmer Tree Gardens were restored and re-opened to the public; the golf course was designed and built. Mr Gronow Davies is endeavouring to continue his work.

The Swanage lifeboat crew and fundraisers are honoured to receive such a significant donation. Swanage RNLI Lifeboat Station Appeal Chairperson Peter Foster said
‘After working closely with Mr Gronow Davis to organise the RNLI Golf Day back in July 2014 I became aware of his tremendous support for the charity. This additional donation he made is a remarkable show of his support and it is fitting that his donation will fund the crew room that will be the heart of the future lifeboat station.’ 

The new lifeboat station, which is currently under construction, will house the new Shannon class lifeboat due in Swanage in Spring 2016.