More than £1,000 raised for Sunderland RNLI following man’s death

Jo Wardle's fiance Alex Hardy drowned at Hendon beach in Sunderland last year, after slipping and being washed into the sea.
Jo Wardle's fiance Alex Hardy drowned at Hendon beach in Sunderland last year, after slipping and being washed into the sea.
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More than £1,300 has been raised towards helping Sunderland’s volunteer lifeboat crews.

Sunderland RNLI Station has hailed their annual Harbour Day as a huge success, after it generated £1,338 towards the charity’s running costs for the coming year.

The event was attended by Jo Wardell whose fiancé Alex sadly passed away when entering the water at Hendon Beach last year.

Jo herself was rescued by the lifeboat and has recently worked with the RNLI nationally as part of the Respect the Water campaign educating others on the hidden dangers when entering the water.

Other attractions included children’s games, entertainment, various stalls, a raffle and games as well an RNLI promotional and water safety stall.

The event was also attended by the all-weather lifeboat from Sunderland’s neighbouring RNLI lifeboat station at Tynemouth.

Music and entertainment was provided throughout the day by Sunderland’s Community Steel Pan band Pantastic, a 23 person-strong group of mixed ages and physical abilities that play a variety of music from traditional Caribbean calypso to through to modern pop music.

Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI Paul Nicholson said: “On behalf of all of the volunteers at the RNLI station I would like to thank everyone who helped make this day a great success, both in terms of fund-raising as well as enjoyment for crowds who attended the event.

“Without events like these, we would not be able to continue the great work our predecessors started two hundred and 15 years ago.”

The highlight of the event for the crowds was a mock rescue demonstration involving Sunderland’s two inshore lifeboats and a search and rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer.

Paul added: “It was particularly fitting that we were able to close the event with a demonstration involving our volunteers and the RAF helicopter from RAF Boulmer as this will probably be the last event the famous yellow aircraft will attend in Sunderland before they are replaced with a civilian service later this year.”