Clacton RNLI’s tenth Easter appeal is a record breaker
This year’s Easter appeal for Easter Eggs and gifts, which is in its tenth year, has surpassed wildest expectations, with over 3000 items being donated. All the donations are set to put a smile on a child’s face in a hospital or care establishment over the Easter period.
The Easter appeal now in its tenth year is the brain child of Tim Sutton (volunteer Helmsman at Clacton RNLI), who from personal experience with his daughter Amy, knows how miserable it can be over the festive period for children away from home, despite the excellent care and compassion of staff. With a mantra of ‘one gift equals one smile’, and over 27,000 items delivered in ten years, that’s 27,000 smiles.
This year’s appeal was extra special for Tim Sutton, who will be retiring at the end of the year, when he reaches the operational age limit for the RNLI’s inshore lifeboats stationed at Clacton-on-Sea. Tim has vowed to continue his efforts in trying to put a smile on children’s faces once he retires, but went all out to make this an extra special year.
The overwhelming generosity of residents and businesses grew with donations coming in from all over.Due to the generosity, it became very difficult to keep track of every contributor, but a few notable ones are; Alton Park school (Clacton), and Busy Bees Nursery(Colchester), who between them collected nearly 1000 eggs. The residents of the Corner House Care Home who donated 100 eggs, bought with the proceeds of a successful raffle they held.
The majority of donations have come from individual residents, in numerous carrier bags left at the Hastings Avenue RNLI lifeboat station, each one set to bring a smile to a child’s face.
Mr Sutton said; ‘I can’t thank everyone enough for the fantastic support, this year has surpassed my wildest dreams. The size of this year’s donations has meant we have been able to reach out to more Children’s Hospices, Hospitals, and rest-bite care homes in Essex, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire.’
The appeal culminated with a road trip for Mr Sutton and fellow volunteers from Clacton-on-Sea RNLI, along with Tim’s daughter Amy (who was the inspiration behind the appeal), thanks to Dial a Ride (who supply the mini bus), and the Snell family, who each year cover the fuel costs for the 300-mile round trip.
Taking in the three counties of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, the team visited numerous establishments caring for children with donated items. Further care packages are being sent separately to other care providers, including Broomfield Hospital and Gt Ormond St Hospital.
This is far removed from the early days, when it was some 300 items crammed into the boot of a car, and only being able to visit Addenbrooke's and Colchester hospital children’s wards.
Tim Sutton, as part of, and on behalf of the Clacton-on-Sea RNLI team of volunteers said: ‘I’d like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone who has donated to, and helped with this year’s appeal. It truly makes us proud of our community.’
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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 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 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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