FRIENDS and family of a schoolboy swept to his death from a promenade during the Easter holidays, are now helping save lives in his memory.
Volunteer RNLI crew members braved rough seas in attempting to save 13-year-old Mark Langton six years ago.
The teenager, on his holidays from school, was later pronounced dead at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Since then, Mark’s loved ones have worked hard to raise funds for the RNLI and their latest donation of £1,000 pushes the total sum of their efforts past the £5,000 mark.
Mark’s sister, Kirsty Steel, said: “Ever since the volunteers at the Sunderland RNLI attempted to rescue Mark, we have raised money for them in his memory.”
The impressive figure was reached with the help of the travelling teddy bear, Marky Boy.
Supporters have taken the globe-trotting bear to various locations for photographs to be taken.
Paul Nicholson, of Sunderland RNLI, is delighted with the fund-raising efforts.
He said: “Marky Boy has been so successful, they have now got three more bears and people take them all over.
“It’s fair to say it has travelled internationally.”
A number of businesses have given their support to the campaign and raised awareness amongst their customers, including Margaret’s Shop in Ashby Street, the Blue House Pub and Eat My Feet of Ryhope Road.
The RNLI reserved special thanks for Darren Crooks, who raised money by taking part in a zip-wire challenge from Marsden Cliffs.
The money is used by the station to fund the cost of their equipment. It costs almost £800 to kit out a volunteer with all of the life-saving equipment they need.
The Southmoor School pupil’s death came 10 years after Johnathan Bernardi, also 13, lost his life in similar circumstances at Hendon promenade and Mr Nicholson took the opportunity to echo the warnings that followed both tragedies.
He said: “The message is still relevant: if people are going to go and watch the big seas, because they are dramatic, they need to do it from a safe distance.”