Family gift to RNLI Lyme Regis marks tragic anniversary
The sister of a man who was lost with two friends in a tragedy that resulted in the longest-ever call out for the volunteer RNLI crew in Lyme Regis has marked the anniversary with a special donation.
Andrew Sparks, 29, married with two children, was one of the three men, all from Chard, who were reported missing.
Now his sister, Sarah Haskins,also from Chard, has donated two pairs of powerful binoculars in memory of Andrew for use by the Lyme Regis volunteers from the balcony of the lifeboat station.
She raised £1.000 among family and friends to buy the binoculars and a plaque.
"As a family we always support the RNLI," said Sarah, "and the donation is also to celebrate the diamond anniversary of my parents Val and Bill Sparks."
Lifeboat Operations Manager in Lyme Regis, Nick Marks, said:"We are very grateful for these gifts which will provide close up views in all directions from the lifeboat station balcony."
The search for the three men involved five lifeboats, two RAF Nimrod aircraft, two coastguard helicopters and two Royal Navy helicopters.
The Lyme Regis RNLI volunteers were at sea for more than 16 hours which involved six crew changes and used 400 litres of fuel.
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.