Sunderland RNLI crew helps lay fund-raiser Charlotte to rest

Her coffin carried by lifeboat volunteers, long-serving RNLI fund-raiser Charlotte Stewart is taken to her final resting place.

Mourners packed Sunderland Minster to pay tribute to the 96-year-old, who was a dedicated supporter of the charity for more than 60 years.

Mrs Stewart, who passed away this month, was president of Sunderland Lifeboat Guild and, in recognition of her devoted service, was made an RNLI Honorary Life Governor in 2006, receiving her award from Princess Alexandra at The Barbican in London.

Michael Charlton, the RNLI's area fund-raising manager in the North East, said Mrs Stewart was an inspirational lady who was always enthusiastic and open to new ideas.

"Charlotte was a wonderful ambassador for the RNLI and always gave the charity her unwavering support," he said.

"Age made no difference to how she saw things and she was constantly looking for new ways to move things forward and improve the way we raise funds."

As a registered charity, the RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income, and nationally has annual running costs of more than 122million.

RNLI fund-raiser exceeds target.

Mrs Stewart, who lived near Sunderland Eye Infirmary, began fund-raising for the RNLI in 1947 and was a driving force behind the Sunderland Guild, which raises thousands of pounds for the charity every year.

She became President of the Guild in 1981, received a Silver Badge from the RNLI in 1990 and in 1999 was awarded a Gold Badge.