THE OFFICIAL launch of the fundraising appeal for the new RNLI lifeboat took place at Eastbourne Town Hall last week.
Organisers of the Eastbourne New Lifeboat Appeal hosted a reception to give local dignitaries and supporters an opportunity to view an exhibition of recent rescues, meet the crew and receive an update on fundraising progress for the new Tamar class lifeboat which is on target to be completed early next year.
A total of £700,000 is needed for the new lifeboat, which will replace the current all-weather lifeboat which is approaching 20-years-.
Eastbourne RNLI is one of the busiest crews in the country and the new boat will give the volunteers the safety and speed they need to continue saving lives at sea.
The new state-of-the-art lifeboat will be named Diamond Jubilee as it will take to the seas of Eastbourne in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Paul Metcalfe, Eastbourne lifeboat operations manager, said, “We were thrilled to be told that we were receiving a Tamar class lifeboat.
“The new Tamar lifeboat will replace our current Mersey class lifeboat, The Royal Thames, which has served us well since 1993 and has launched on hundreds of rescue missions during her lifetime.”
There was a formal welcome at the Town Hall event, which was followed by an introduction from Dr Colin McKee, chairman of the lifeboat management group.
Presentations were then given by Lou Purdy, RNLI area fundraising representative, and Eastbourne lifeboat coxswain, Mark Sawyer.
Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Carolyn Heaps, said the entire town valued the commitment and bravery of the volunteer crew.
She felt certain that people, despite the difficult economic climate, would rise to the challenge of raising the £700,000 shortfall in funding of the new lifeboat.
On the night, the appeal received a boost from the captains of Royal Eastbourne Golf Club when Kenneth and Yvonne Macdonald presented a cheque for £1,000 to Dr Colin McKee.
This added to the £4,500 they had donated earlier in the year.