RNLI fund-raiser exceeds target

Lifeboat volunteers have thanked generous Wearsiders after they smashed their Harbour Day fund-raising target.

The annual event in aid of the RNLI raised more than 2,000, topping the organisers' initial goal of 1,500.

The total is understood to be one of the biggest in recent memory.

The funds will go towards the cost of running the city's inshore lifeboat.

On Sunday, up to 1,000 people flocked to the seafront for the bumper day of attractions and demonstrations.

Organised by the Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station and Lifeboat Guild, the fund-raiser on Marine Walk promenade, Roker, also included a vintage car display, children's rides, stalls and games including soak-a-crewman.

Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI lifeboat station, told the Echo: "There was a steady flow of people all day, from the moment we opened until about late afternoon when we were winding down.

"We want to thank everyone who helped and made a donation. We have been given a great deal of support from the public and local business people, who donated money as well as raffle prizes."

There were also displays from other search and rescue teams and exhibitions by groups including the Wearside Model Boat Club.

Michael Elwood, chairman of the club, said: "It was a great day. Everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves. We're looking forward to taking part next time."

Meanwhile, the Echo is raising 10,000 to put seven RNLI volunteers through 12 months' operational training.

Every year, the RNLI on Wearside is called to dozens of incidents, with Sunderland the busiest lifeboat station on the east coast in 2008.

But for volunteers to remain at the top of their game, the charity has to continually raise funds for vital life-saving training.

Send cheques to Sunderland Echo Launch a Lifesaver appeal, c/o James Johnston, Sunderland Echo, Echo House, Pennywell, Sunderland SR4 9ER.

Also, fund-raisers can publicise events in aid of the RNLI in the Echo by emailing details to james.johnston@northeast-press. co.uk