Help Dart RNLI to return home: £1.2m fundraising appeal for new lifeboat station
Dart RNLI, one of the busiest lifeboat stations in Devon, has put out its own call for help with the launch of a new fundraising appeal.
Currently operating from a temporary lifeboat station which is nearing the end of its lease, the volunteer crew is now asking for help to fund the £1.2M cost of creating a new lifesaving home.
Earlier this year, using a generous bequest from one of Dart RNLI’s supporters, the RNLI purchased Ferry View in Dartmouth with a view to transforming it into a new, purpose-built lifeboat station with all the facilities required by a 24/7 search and rescue service. The building was the original home to the first Dartmouth lifeboat, Maud Hargreaves, from 1878 until 1896, so the new station will not only provide the crew with a modern base, but also represent a homecoming for the RNLI and the whole community.
‘It really will be like coming home’, says Bob Gilbert, Chair of Dart RNLI’s Fundraising Committee. ‘Ferry View is the place where the story of lifesaving in Dartmouth began, so it will be wonderful to bring the lifeboat home to a transformed station building.’
The new station will not only represent a return home, but also make launching far easier and safer. Currently, the Dart crew launch their D class lifeboat from their temporary station building by driving it a quarter of a mile across an often muddy park and two main roads. The new station is located directly opposite a slipway, shaving precious minutes off launch times.
‘Launching like this can be a real challenge,’ says volunteer Helm Rich Eggleton. ‘The new location will help us to reduce the time it takes to get the boat in the water, as well as giving us far better facilities for the crew.
‘We’re really looking forward to having a permanent home, with everything in the right place. We've never really had that. It will give everyone a sense of security that we're here to stay and can carry on saving lives.’
Planning has now been approved to transform Ferry View into a home for Dart RNLI for many years to come. But the costs of the transformation are expected to be around £1.2m, so the station is preparing for a mammoth fundraising task.
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.
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