Sunderland lifeboatmen ready for fundraising drive

Sunderland RNLI lifeboat senior helmsman Paul Nicholson

Sunderland RNLI lifeboat senior helmsman Paul Nicholson

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LIFEBOAT volunteers are preparing to launch their biggest fund-raising drive of the year.

A host of events have been planned at venues across Wearside as part of SOS Day.

<RNLI mascot Stormy Stan broadcasting to world during last year's event at Sunderland RNLI. (c) Sunderland RNLI>

<RNLI mascot Stormy Stan broadcasting to world during last year's event at Sunderland RNLI. (c) Sunderland RNLI>

It is hoped businesses, employees and pupils will help support the annual fund-raiser, which will help the RNLI continue its vital life-saving work.

At the weekend, radio enthusiasts took to the airwaves for SOS Radio Week, which aimed to raise awareness of the main event on Friday.

The broadcasts saw operators from across the UK and Ireland chat to people from around the world.

The teams are based at up to 40 lifeboat stations, including Sunderland, with fund-raisers also calling in to pledge money to the charity.

Since it was launched in 2007, the event has grown in popularity and last year raised to total of £3,600 for the charity.

The South Tyneside Amateur Radio Society broadcast from the centre in Marine Walk, Roker, with a call sign GB1SLB on all High Frequency Bands.

Gerry Thompson, a member of the society who has previously volunteered for the RNLI and HM Coastguard, said: “As an ex volunteer with the RNLI, I was only too happy to support this national event.

“We could speak with anyone around the world depending on atmospheric conditions and the frequency used.

“It was the fourth time we’ve broadcast from Sunderland RNLI.

“We’ve been really looking forward to it and raising some money to help the volunteer lifeboat crews.”

Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: “The SOS Radio Week forms part of the annual RNLI SOS Day fundraising and this year the money raised will go towards new state-of-the-art lifejackets for our volunteer lifeboat crews at all of the north’s lifeboat stations.

“We are very grateful to the amateur radio enthusiasts for supporting our charity in this way and wish them the best of luck for the event.’

For more information about SOS Day, which takes place on Friday, visit www.rnli.org.uk/sosday

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho