£2.7m lifeboat appeal on crest of wave

New lifeboat sailing past Beachy Head
New lifeboat sailing past Beachy Head

The £2.7 million fundraising effort to buy a brand new life-saving lifeboat for the town has finished.

Residents and businesses dug deep to contribute towards the huge total. And this week Dr Colin McKee, chairman of the Eastbourne Lifeboat Management Group, announced the official end of the appeal – and thanked everyone who contributed to its success.

“Despite the difficult times we are all facing, I am delighted to announce that the Eastbourne RNLI Diamond Jubilee Appeal has closed with a final balance of £149,442.42, all raised by local efforts,” said Dr McKee.

“This figure exceeded our initial target by almost 50 per cent, funding and equipping the training of volunteer crews as well as completing the fundraising of the £2.7 million required to buy this magnificent Search and Rescue vessel.

“The new Tamar class lifeboat Diamond Jubilee, after her trip behind Her Majesty the

Queen in the Royal Flotilla at the Thames Pageant, has launched on rescue service 23 times already.

“She is a hugely impressive lifeboat, larger, faster and safer than any Eastbourne lifeboat before her, with superb search equipment and the ability to reach casualties at speed in any conditions the sea may throw at us.

“Those of us who work on and with Diamond Jubilee are both proud and humbled. We are proud to have been entrusted with this magnificent lifeboat, and humbled by the generosity

and support of you, our local community, in giving so much in money, effort and time

to reach and exceed our very ambitious total.

“The community have pulled out the stops for us and we hope that we can live up to that. From all of us at Eastbourne Lifeboat station, thank you.”

The RNLI’s volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service from more than 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland.

The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary

donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service.

Since the RNLI was founded in

1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 137,000 lives.