West Mersea RNLI crew grateful for surprise online support

Lifeboats News Release

The lifeboat crew of West Mersea RNLI Lifeboat Station have expressed their gratitude to a local woman who prompted a surprise donation of more than £1,000 to help save lives at sea.

The front page of the Just Giving site which was a pleasant surprise for the RNLI

Just Giving

The front page of the Just Giving site which was a pleasant surprise for the RNLI

The donation came about after the lifeboat crew took part in a search for a missing dog on Sunday 8 January, after which a local woman set up a Just Giving page to recognise the volunteer lifeboat crew for their efforts.

The lifeboat launched at 4pm amid reports that a black Labrador named Ella had been spotted swimming in the sea between Mersea and Ray Island. It was believed the dog was the same one that had gone missing from its owner three days earlier.

Martin Wade, Lifeboat Operations Manager at West Mersea RNLI, took up the story: ‘We launched not only out of concern for Ella, but also because in our experience, when animals are in distress, humans often try to assist them and get into danger themselves. We were concerned that people might be looking for Ella on Ray Island and could be at risk of being trapped there by the incoming tide.’

The lifeboat stood guard in the Ray channel for about 15 minutes before Ella was recovered safe and well by another local resident. Apart from being dehydrated and cold, Ella has now made a full recovery.

Martin continued: ‘When she was found we stood down and returned to station, and thought that would be the end of it. So imagine our surprise when we saw on Facebook locally that a woman had launched a fundraising campaign to support us! We didn’t actually do that much on the day, so we are hugely grateful to her for recognising our input and raising funds for us in this way.’

Mersea Island resident Caroline Bowring set up the Just Giving page, with a target of £500. In just a few days, the target has almost been doubled, as the current total stands at £983.

‘That figure may even rise’, said Martin, ‘so once again we say thank you to Caroline and to everyone who has donated so far. The money will be put towards the essential crew training our volunteers in order to save lives at sea.’

Anyone wishing to view the page and donate can visit the page here https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/caroline-bowring

West Mersea RNLI Lifeboat Station is one of 237 stations operated by the charity around the coast of the UK and Ireland. The RNLI remains a charity that relies on voluntary contributions to fund its work.

RNLI media contacts

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
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West Mersea RNLI inshore lifeboat 'Just George'

RNLI/West Mersea

West Mersea RNLI inshore lifeboat 'Just George'

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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