Cleethorpes Lifeboat Station receives donation after year of Fundraising

Lifeboats News Release

Local fundraiser Helen Knights visited the station with friends and family to present the RNLI and British Heart Foundation with funds raised by a number of activities.

Helen started a year of fundraising in memory of her late husband Mark who tragically died in August 2014 from an undiagnosed heart condition.

Together with friends, family and work colleagues Helen has raised a massive £13,013 to support her chosen charities, the British Heart Foundation and Cleethorpes RNLI in Mark’s memory.

Helen said: 'I started the campaign following the loss of Mark suddenly and unexpectedly to an undiagnosed heart condition. I decided to make 2015 a year of fundraising in Mark’s memory and I chose two charities, the British Heart Foundation and Cleethorpes RNLI.

'Mark was swimming in the sea at Cleethorpes when he was taken ill and received care and attention from the RNLI as well as other services. Mark was a keen windsurfer and I know that he would have wanted to support the RNLI with our fundraising as they have always been there for him and his friends when they have undertaken water sports activities in Cleethorpes.

'The British Heart Foundation (BHF) does fantastic work and I want to support the charity in pioneering research advances which will help save others. I also want to support the charity help others live long and healthy lives through raising heart awareness. We kick started the year of fundraising with the 2015 Wear It. Beat It event, and it was a great event to get us started.

'I have been overwhelmed by the support of friends, family and their children (and their friends) and work colleagues who have held their own fundraising activities as well as supporting the ones I have organised. It shows just how loved Mark was, how much he meant to so many people and how much he is missed. If he could see what lengths his friends have gone to in his memory I know he would be shocked and also very proud of them.'

Activities have included a bingo night with a packed hall, BHF Wear It. Beat It events at work and the Rose and Crown, Scartho, tandem parachute jump, marathon and half marathon events, bake sales, raffles and name cards, pocket money donations from nieces, friends and their friends, dress down days in work places, a race night, a sponsored hair cut, donations from selling household items and the RNLI H2Only challenge.

Helen, her sister Clare and two close friends Louisa and Charlotte ran the Great North Run as Team Mark in September 2015 raising nearly £1,500 for the two charities between them. Helen’s sister Clare took on the challenge without previously having run any events and successfully ran the whole half marathon. And Louisa’s husband ran the London Marathon in 2015, raising just over £1,200 for Cleethorpes RNLI.

Kev, one of Mark’s friends undertook the tandem parachute jump raising money for the RNLI as he wanted to say thank you for their efforts on the night Mark was taken ill. Kev added: 'Doing the parachute jump was a huge challenge and I was proud to achieve it and raise £700 for Cleethorpes RNLI.'

Friends and family have also supported the BHF in their Bag It Beat It campaigns, donating unwanted clothes.

Helen said: 'I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the local and some national businesses who have supported us through donating raffle prizes. This really has contributed to our fundraising efforts and provided us with some fantastic prizes.

'I am proud that together we have helped continue to fund the vital research needed to fight heart disease and to have supported Cleethorpes RNLI in their ongoing operations and boat house developments in Mark’s memory.'

Lauren Mallinson, Fundraising Manager for the BHF said: 'Helen Knights has been an inspirational fundraiser for the BHF and we are incredibly grateful for her support – and also that of everyone in the local community who has helped her. We urgently need more people to join our fight for every heartbeat and help power our life saving research. That’s why we’re calling on everyone across NE Lincolnshire to Raise Funds Your Way to help support our vital work. To order a free fundraising pack, please visit https://www.bhf.org.uk/get-involved/fundraising/do-your-own-fundraising

Daniel Cooper, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Cleethorpes RNLI, said: 'We’re incredibly grateful to Helen and everyone else involved. Mark was a keen windsurfer and the funds raised will help our volunteer crew continue to support the local watersports community by providing lifesaving cover 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. So far in 2016, Cleethorpes Lifeboat has been called on service 41 times and rescued 24 people, 3 dogs and even a porpoise! We can only do this because of donations so the efforts that Helen and her friends and family have gone to are very worthwhile indeed.'

Helen Knights presents a large cheque to representatives from the RNLI and BHF, surrounded by friends and lifeboat volunteers

RNLI/Rich McLellan

Presentation at Cleethorpes Lifeboat Station

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland