LIFEBOAT volunteers today launched their annual fundraising drive.
Sunderland RNLI crewmen, lifeboat unit and guild members joined city mayor Iain Kay and mayoress Barbara McClennan, to help promote the up-and-coming Flag Day.
The event, which will be held tomorrow, will see the charity’s supporters take to the streets for a major collection drive.
Councillor Kay said: “As Mayor of Sunderland, it’s an honour to add civic support for the annual RNLI fund-raising appeal by buying the first flag.
“The RNLI is one of this country’s most respected organisations.
“I know thousands of others will follow suit and support the RNLI with donations, not only over this coming week, but throughout the year.”
Coun Kay said the RNLI played a vital role in boosting coastal and sea safety on Wearside.
“Our station in Sunderland is the oldest in the country and it has been helping people for more than 200 years,” he said.
“It is more than just a tradition here, it is an essential lifeline and it deserves all our support.
“The work of the volunteer lifeboat crews around our coastline and rivers can never be underestimated.
“We should all thank these brave, selfless people for their invaluable work.
“One way of showing your thanks and appreciation is with a donation.”
Last year, the Sunderland station recorded one of its busiest years, attending a total of 111 incidents.
Crewman Ben Mitchell said: “As a charity, we rely on fund-raising collections like this to ensure we can continue to operate as a maritime emergency service.
“Each year it costs us approximately £7,000 to provide fuel for our two inshore lifeboats, so we are very grateful to the public for their continued generosity.”
On Sunday, July 1, at 10.45am, St George’s Church, in Stockton Road, Sunderland, will host a special service in honour of crews and lifeguards both past and present. It will be led by Rev David Chadwick.
For more information about Sunderland RNLI, visit www.rnlisunderland.org.