SOS answered to tune of £1,000

IN CONTROL: Crew member Paul Charloner with six-year-old Olivia Hallet at the helm

IN CONTROL: Crew member Paul Charloner with six-year-old Olivia Hallet at the helm

First published in Afloat News by

THE RNLI sent out an SOS call to the nation – and Weymouth responded by raising more than £1,000.

SOS Day is the charity’s biggest annual fundraising event when stations across the country host their own activities.

Weymouth’s theme this year – Station Open Saturday (SOS) – was hailed a ‘great success’ by organisers, with more than £1,000 raised on the day.

This year’s inaugural winter open day event was even more poignant as it coincided with the 143rd anniversary of Weymouth’s first lifeboat, Agnes Harriet.

Ken Francis, publicity officer for Weymouth RNLI, said: “It went very well, we’re really pleased with the fundraising.

“We had a winner of the National Lottery who was a local person from Weymouth and had won a special VIP tour and went into the back of the station with a one-to-one with officials and crew members.”

At the event last weekend, the crew were on hand to show visitors around the boats and lifeboat station.

Pupils from Thornlow Preparatory School choir supported the day by singing sea shanties.

The Weymouth and Portland team is made up of 28 volunteers, and crews of 10 take it in turns to be on-call 24 hours a day.

Francis said: “A lot of mem-bers of the public were able to have their photos taken while dressed up as lifeboat crew and look over the lifeboats.

“In the boathouse there was tea and cakes and the chance to look at videos of recent rescues which was some quite dramatic footage.”

The fundraising event, themed each year to fit the term SOS, was held only a few days after the 143rd anniversary of the Weymouth lifeboat, on January 26.

Francis added: “We celebrated the birthday of Weymouth’s first lifeboat, Agnes Harriet, a few weeks ago and now we’re starting to make plans for the 150th birthday in a few years’ time.

“We’re looking forward now to lifeboat week, which this year will be moved from our normal summertime dates to the end of May.”

Last year, the Weymouth lifeboat team embarked upon an eight-hour charity bowlath-on, with the slogan Spare or Strike, managing to raise almost £2,000 in sponsorship.

The Weymouth RNLI team are volunteers, and the charity is supported entirely through donations.

All money raised during this year’s SOS event will go towards new lifejackets being issued to crew members this year.

The lifejackets, considered to be a crew member’s most important piece of kit, are designed to be more efficient, provide greater buoyancy and be easier to work with.

* rachael.burnett@dorsetecho.co.uk

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