Tragic teen's legacy lives on as Sunderland family and friends help RNLI team

The family and friends of teenager Liam Hall have given back to the charity which helped bring him home after a sea tragedy.

Monday, 12th December 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 12:32 pm
Liam Hall.

The 17-year-old, from Southwick, and his friends sparked a rescue mission after they got into trouble after going out into the water off Roker in dinghy on Tuesday, August 30.

Since then, the community has rallied round to support his loved ones as they began to come to term with Liam’s death.

Paul Nicholson, Phil Johnson, Sarah Hall, Chris Hoggett, landlord Michael Stephenson and James Jamieson.

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Now, The Halfway House, in Southwick Road, has presented more than £1,400 to the RNLI, which joined the emergency services as they and members of the public tried to save the trainee car mechanic and helped get his girlfriend Courtney Richardson, 18, and their two friends Jack Hanratty, 17 and Natalie Foster, 21 to safety.

The cash was raised at an entertainment night filled with games and prizes, with funeral director Tony Clarke covering the costs of a pie and pea supper.

Liam’s mum Sarah, 38, who is also mum to Lewis, 18, Ryan, 20 and Olivia, eight, said: “We did this charity night because of all the hard work the RNLI does, and all the family wants to thank them personally for bringing Liam home.
“They have already been into my daughter’s school to tell them all about safety in the water.

“They do such important work around the North East and we want to help them keep doing it.”

Paul Nicholson, Phil Johnson, Sarah Hall, Chris Hoggett, landlord Michael Stephenson and James Jamieson.

Sarah is also working on a project called Spirit Child which is reaching out to others who have also lost loved ones to offer support.

The pub’s landlord, Michael Stephenson, said: “We did this in memory of Liam, especially because he was from Southwick.

“We got together and talked about doing some fundraising to show our support for the RNLI, because they helped rescue Liam and for everybody else who has been helped by them.

“We invited them down to give them the cheque and we wanted to thank them in person.”

Paul Nicholson, helmsman at Sunderland RNLI said: “We are extremely grateful to the Liam’s family and friends for choosing to remember him by making this donation.

“This donation alone will cover the cost of training at least one of our lifeboat volunteers for a whole year.

“Only a very small number of the charities volunteers have a maritime background so it is vital that the RNLI receives public donations to ensure it can deliver the best training possible to keep its volunteers safe when they go to sea.”

Liam, who had gone on to Sunderland College after leaving Sandhill View, was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary after the incident, but could not be saved.