The outgoing Mayor of Wirral has presented the Wirral’s RNLI lifeboat stations with a generous donation of £11,000 to mark the end of his term in office.
In May 2018, Councillor Geoffrey Watt nominated the borough’s lifeboat stations at Hoylake, West Kirby and New Brighton as among the local charities that would benefit from the Mayor’s Special Charity Fund.
Throughout the year, Councillor Watt visited some of the lifeboat stations and met their volunteer crews to find out more about their lifesaving work. He was previously Commodore of Hoylake Sailing Club and a keen sailor himself.
Councillor Watt made three visits in support of RNLI New Brighton during his time in office. Accompanied by Mayoress Ann Watt, he took part in the lifeboat station’s July 2018 Open Day, while the couple also attended the St James’ Church lifeboat thanksgiving service for the station in the following October. New Year’s Day 2019 also saw Councillor Watt – acting in an unofficial capacity – take charge as referee of the tug-of-war challenge between the RNLI New Brighton lifeboat crew and Mersey Divers, Wallasey.
In August 2018, Councillor Watt swapped his chain of office for the RNLI's distinctive yellow crew kit as he launched on a training exercise with Hoylake RNLI’s volunteers on board their Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood.
As well as the local lifeboat stations, Councillor Watt also dedicated the past year to raising funds for the local Forester's Horn Group of the Riding for the Disabled Association and other Wirral-based charities and voluntary groups. He presented the donations to representatives from each of the charities at a reception at Wallasey Town Hall on Wednesday 8 May.
The event also saw students and staff from Woodchurch High School present a donation of £700 to the RNLI after the school decided to fundraise in support of the Mayor’s charity fund.
Following the presentations, Hoylake RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Andy Dodd said: 'It was an honour to host the Mayor on Hoylake Lifeboat last year and to show him how the fantastic amount he has raised will be used to train our local crews and ensure the RNLI can continue its lifesaving work. We’re also grateful to everyone at Woodchurch High School for their fundraising efforts.'
West Kirby RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Dave Henshaw said: ‘It was marvellous to see the Mayor and Mayoress again after their strenuous year. It takes a great level of commitment for the Mayor to carry out his role and to collect for his charities, including the phenomenal sum of £11,000 for the RNLI. The students of Woodchurch High School also deserve a major thanks for their donation. I hope they will pop along to any of the three Wirral lifeboat stations to see exactly where their donation will be used.’
New Brighton RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Ian Thornton said: ‘We were all delighted to see both the Mayor and Mayoress at our events this year and appreciate the significant time spent with our volunteers on each occasion. The amount raised as a result of Councillor Watt’s charity commitment to Wirral RNLI lifeboat stations is brilliant and we are truly grateful. We’ll be making sure our share is put to good use in our ongoing efforts at saving lives at sea.’
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact:
- Dan Whiteley, Hoylake RNLI Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799 851 316 or Dan_Whiteley@rnli.org.uk
- Cherie Rowlands, New Brighton RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07989 596 990 or Cherie_Rowlands@rnli.org.uk
- The RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789
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 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 by email.