SUNDERLAND’S lifeboat station has been handed a major cash windfall in honour of a long-serving volunteer.
Mid American Energy Holdings has donated almost £2,000 to the RNLI centre, in Roker, in tribute to dedicated member Paul Nicholson.
The 35-year-old, who works for the energy firm, has served with the charity since 1997, taking part in 543 rescue missions.
After starting out as a crewman, Paul, from Fulwell, became a helmsman and then senior helmsman, saving 23 lives.
The latest donation from the company brings its total to more than £8,500 over the past six years.
Paul, who also volunteers as lifeboat press officer alongside Ben Mitchell, said: “This latest donation to the RNLI by my employer is greatly appreciated and will be used to help fund the station’s planned upkeep and maintenance work during 2013.
“It is now five years since we moved into our current building.
“This work will ensure it is kept in good order for the use of our volunteers and the many visitors who visit the lifeboat station.”
Paul, who works as an electrical distribution design engineer with Northern Powergrid, part of Mid American Energy Holdings, said the company encourages its employees to support community projects.
“The company operates a Global Days of Service programme, which is one of the ways that employees who carry out voluntary work are recognised,” he said.
“For each hour of volunteer work that employees performed over the last 12 months, they are allocated a share of the $250,000 (£162,000) Global Days of Service fund.”
Mark Drye, director of asset management at Northern Powergrid, said the donation was a fitting tribute to Paul’s “dedication to an important charity”.
“Our Global Days of Service programme is a wonderful way for us to officially acknowledge the marvellous work our employees do in their own communities,” he said.
“Paul is one of our hardest working design engineers at Northern Powergrid, yet still gives a considerable amount of his time to the RNLI.
“His work helps save many lives and we are very pleased as his employer to be in a position to recognise his dedication to this important charity.”
Another donation has been made by the company to the RNLI lifeboat station at Newbiggin, Northumberland, in honour of long-serving volunteer Les Fayers.