View as PDF

Sunderland RNLI donation from footballer Duncan Watmore

Lifeboats News Release

Earlier this week volunteers at Sunderland RNLI received a massive boost when Sunderland AFC footballer Duncan Watmore paid them a visit to learn more about the work they do.

Duncan Watmore with Ann Cantle and volunteers (Mark Cleminson, Andrew McGill, and Paul Nicholson) from Sunderland RNLI

RNLI/Alan Nicholson

Duncan Watmore with Ann Cantle and volunteers from Sunderland RNLI

During the visit Duncan handed over a £3,000 donation to Ann Cantle, mother of Andrew, who was tragically killed six years ago when the Manx2.com commuter plane he was co-piloting crashed at Cork Airport in thick fog.

The donation has taken a fund set up in Andrew's memory to its initial milestone of £40,000, which is enough money to provide the next D Class inshore lifeboat to be stationed at Sunderland and which will be named after Andrew (Cantle).

During the visit Duncan was given a guided tour of the charity’s two inshore lifeboats as well spending time meeting some of the lifeboat station’s volunteers learning about rescue and prevention work of the charity as well as some of the volunteers’ own personal experiences of their rescue work for the RNLI.

Paul Nicholson, Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: ‘Everyone involved at the lifeboat station is thrilled to receive this fantastic donation from Duncan which has taken Andrew’s memorial fund to its initial milestone of being able to fully fund the purchase of the next D Class inshore lifeboat at Sunderland. It was also interesting for our volunteers to learn more about the recent maritime rescue which Duncan found himself in the middle of during his holiday.’

Andrew Cantle (aged 27) first became involved with Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat station in 2000 when he decided to serve with the charity as part of the Community Service element of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

After completing the award in 2001 he decided to stay with the charity and serve as volunteer lifeboat crew where he served until 2008, when he moved to York to take up his career as an airline pilot. During this time he took part in 65 emergency missions which resulted in the rescue of 66 people.

Duncan said: 'My own holiday rescue incident made me appreciate the RNLI message to us all to Respect the Water. And my visit to Sunderland RNLI today has taught me that the real heroes are the men and women who volunteer for the RNLI. I’m delighted that our family donation to the Andrew Cantle fund will both give the RNLI another state-of-the-art rescue boat, and provide a fitting memorial for one much missed, brave volunteer.

'RNLI 'Forever by the Sea' funds are a positive and powerful way to honour the life of someone special. By setting up a fund in the name of your loved one, you can turn treasured memories into practical support for courageous volunteer lifeboat crews.'

For more information about or how to setup a forever by the sea memorial fund go to www.rnli.org.uk/inmemory

As a registered charity the RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.

Notes to editors

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station is the oldest continually operational lifeboat in the United Kingdom. It was originally opened in 1800 before being adopted by the RNLI in 1865.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates its own website www.rnlisunderland.org where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station has a profile on Twitter (SunderlandRNLI) and Facebook (RNLI Sunderland) where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities and news.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates two inshore type lifeboats: An Atlantic 85 8.3m inflatable capable of 35 knots and a D Class (IB-1) 4.5m inflatable capable of 25 knots.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone:

Paul Nicholson, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer on 07957 494 077 or email - pauldnich@yahoo.co.uk or

Alex Richards, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer on 07540 530 395 or email - alex.richards@stc.ac.uk

As an alternative please contact Alison Levett, Media Relations Manager North on 07786 668 912 or alevett@rnli.org.uk or RNLI Headquarters Public Relations on 01202 336000.

Duncan Watmore presenting the £3,000 donation to Ann Cantle, mother of Andrew Cantle

RNLI/Alan Nicholson

Duncan Watmore presenting the £3,000 donation to Ann Cantle
Duncan Watmore talking to Sunderland RNLI volunteers (Mark Cleminson, Andrew McGill, and Paul Nicholson) during his visit

RNLI/Alan Nicholson

Duncan Watmore talking to Sunderland RNLI volunteers during his visit
Duncan Watmore with Ann Cantle and volunteers (Mark Cleminson, Andrew McGill, and Paul Nicholson) from Sunderland RNLI

RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Duncan Watmore with Ann Cantle and volunteers from Sunderland RNLI

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. 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 over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.