Fund-raiser for lifesavers

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LIFEBOAT volunteers are set to launch their annual fund-raising drive.

Labour MP Julie Elliott, who represents Sunderland Central, will officially open Lifeboat Day, in Roker, tomorrow.

RNLI crews, lifeguards and guild members have organised the event, which will include a series of rescue demonstrations, to help support the 212-year-old local branch of the charity.

Already this year, its two inshore lifeboats have been called into action 54 times.

Other attractions will include children’s rides, stalls, games and model boat display.

The event will also be visited by all-weather lifeboats from neighbouring stations, subject to operational requirements.

Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: “We would like to invite the people of Sunderland to come along and take part in this open day at our lifeboat station.

“It will also give everyone the chance to meet our volunteer crew and have a look around our two inshore lifeboats, as well contributing towards the charity’s on-going running costs.”

An amateur radio group will be broadcasting across the world during the day to promote the event and the work of the RNLI, using call sign GB1SLB.

Representatives from Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light charity and Barclays Bank, who are supporting the event, and the 23-strong steel-pan band, Pantastic, will also be in attendance.

“The Sunderland RNLI station has a 212-year history of saving lives at sea,” added Paul.

“During those years, the class and types of lifeboats have changed from sail and oar, to today’s state of the art power craft equipped with navigation aids and capable of speeds of up to 35 knots.

“We hope as many people as possible will come along to the event and support us.”

Lifeboat Day will take place at the Marine Walk car park, Roker, tomorrow from 11am to 4pm.

For more information about the RNLI, visit www.rnlisunderland.org.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho