ON what would have been his 20th birthday, the family of tragic Mark Langton have channelled their grief to save lives in his name.
The popular Southmoor School pupil was swept to his death by a 15ft wave, when he was just 13, as he played with pals on a slipway at Hendon Promenade on the first day of the Easter holidays.
Since then his family and friends have kept his memory alive by raising almost £7,000 for the RNLI, which battled to rescue the teenager.
Their latest efforts saw them present a cheque for £1,000 to the RNLI in Roker, just in time for Mark’s 20th birthday, which would have been on Sunday.
The amount was price-matched by his mum Bev Steel’s employers, Care UK, from funds raised by the family in April.
Bev, a care manager from Farringdon, said: “The RNLI do a fantastic job in the city and we will continue to do everything we can to support them.
“We are so proud of what’s being done in Mark’s name. Six years is a long time ago but it means that Mark is not forgotten.”
Mark’s family and friends conduct fund-raising activities throughout the year for the RNLI including raffles and sponsored mile-long walks.
One of their most successful ventures is a sponsored travelling teddy bear, Marky Boy, which has now visited countries around the world.
A plaque is in place in memory of Mark at the lifeboat station in Sunderland Marina.
Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: “This money will go specifically towards Sunderland rescues.
“Donations like this are fantastic. As a charity we rely on donations or else we couldn’t exist.”