Staithes and Runswick RNLI enjoyed a highly successful Lifeboat Weekend with the lifesaving charity netting nearly £16,000 as crowds thronged the two seaside villages.
There was a dramatic interruption to the party on Saturday afternoon when in the middle of a mock rescue off Staithes, the Staithes lifeboat was called to Kettleness Point to carry out a real rescue after two anglers suffered an engine failure on their fishing boat.
While lifeboats from Whitby and Redcar continued their demonstration with HM Coastguard’s Search and Rescue helicopter winching mock casualties out of the sea, the Staithes lifeboat successfully returned the anglers and their boat to the beach at Runswick Bay. It was the third call-out in a week for the busy volunteer crew.
The festivities at Staithes were opened by the TV antiques expert Caroline Hawley, well known for her appearances on BBC’s Flog It and Bargain Hunt. She told the crowd on the harbour front how her family had long been regular visitors to the village and how the RNLI was her favourite charity. She accepted a cheque for £1,000 from Mark Yeoman, factory manager at Texon Non-Woven of Skelton, whose company had made the RNLI their charity of the year.
Another bonus was the gift of a painting of Staithes Beck by the leading marine artist Richard Deck which raised nearly £2,000 in a raffle.
The Staithes and Skinningrove coastguard team showed off their abseiling skills with simulated rescues of casualties at the sea wall at Runswick and down a 200 foot cliff at Staithes. For many it was the first chance to see Staithes new Atlantic 85 lifeboat
Sheila & Dennis Tongue III and the new RNLI Lifeguard team stationed for the first time this year at Runswick Bay through the school summer holidays.
In a close finish to a hotly contested raft race across the harbour, 12 year old Cadon Porritt on a solo craft made of plastic bottles beat a crew of 10 adults. Cadon is the grandson of David Porritt, the Launch Operations Manager of the Staithes lifeboat station.
After the Fancy Dress parade, the crowd was entertained by the 20-strong Middlesbrough Jazz and Blues Orchestra culminating in a fireworks spectacular set off on the breakwater by the G2 team.
The crowds returned on Sunday to see the annual Duck Race with 400 ducks dawdling down Roxby Beck and the traditional climax to the weekend came with twin concerts at Runswick and Staithes by the North Skelton Band and well-attended Services of Thanksgiving conducted by Reverend Alan Coates, the station chaplain.
'We’re absolutely thrilled by the generosity of the public and individual donors', said Lifeboat Weekend Co-ordinator Colin Harrison, 'It’s the most we’ve raised for many years and it’s a big morale booster to know how well we’re supported.
'In particular, we were glad that the crowds could see our crew go off to carry out a real rescue at the height of proceedings and see what they were giving their money towards. Can I also appreciate the very hard work of our volunteer crew members and the background army of helpers from both communities of Staithes and Runswick Bay who have once again come up trumps in delivering a great weekend for all.'
RNLI Media contacts
For more information please contact Grant McKee, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07801 257614.
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, in a normal year, 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.
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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.