A TEENAGE sailor is hoping to boost a charity drive in memory of a pilot and former lifeboat volunteer killed in a plane crash.
Christian Carney, 13, who joined up with Sunderland RNLI as part his Duke of Edinburgh Award training, has organised a charity night in aid of the Forever by the Sea fund.
With the aim of raising money to buy a new inshore lifeboat, the campaign was set up in memory of Andy Cantle, from Moorside, who was killed in 2011 when the Manx2.com commuter plane he was co-piloting crashed at Cork Airport in thick fog.
The 27-year-old first became involved with the RNLI in 2000 through the community service element of his Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Christian, a member of Sunderland Yacht Club, pledged to raise cash for the life-saving charity after witnessing its work first-hand.
The keen dinghy sailor, from Fulwell, said: “Since starting my award scheme in April, I have learnt a lot about how the RNLI and its volunteers operate.
“Being involved with the yacht club, I fully understand how vital their work is.
“I’m therefore thrilled to be arranging this night to raise vital funds for the station and the memorial fund in aid of Andy, who originally started with the station as a Duke of Edinburgh Award student like me.”
The event will take place at the yacht club, in Roker, later this month.
The main entertainment on the night will be provided by the Fuzz Tones and will also include an auction, raffle, and disco.
Kristina Jameson, launching authority and Duke of Edinburgh Award co-ordinator at Sunderland RNLI, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme is a great way for youngsters to get involved with the RNLI.
“Throughout the years, we have had several award candidates who have progressed through to becoming full volunteer crew when they reached 17.
“Fund-raising is a vital part of the scheme as it reminds the candidates that we are a charity that relies on fund-raising alone for income.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland Lifeboat crew members and lifeguards gathered at Goals Soccer Centre, in Sunderland, to take part in an annual football match in memory of Andy.
The game, which saw the lifeboat crew run out 10–7 winners, raised £120.
Senior Helmsman Paul Nicholson said: “The Andy Cantle Memorial Fund, to date, has raised over £10,000.
“With the money we hope to purchase Sunderland’s next inshore lifeboat which will be named in memory of Andy.”
The charity night will take place on Saturday, September 28, at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £5 each and are available, in advance, from the venue.
To donate a raffle or auction prize, call 07957 494 077.