90-year-old Betty helps keep lifeboats afloat

Birthday girl Betty Coils pictured with Hartlepool RNLI crewmembers Garry Waugh and Ken Hay(right).
Birthday girl Betty Coils pictured with Hartlepool RNLI crewmembers Garry Waugh and Ken Hay(right).
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GENEROUS Betty Coils did her bit to keep Hartlepool’s lifeboats afloat when she shunned birthday presents in favour of donations to her favourite charity.

Betty asked friends and family to dig deep for Hartlepool RNLI, and ignore the usual chocolates, flowers and smellies, when she celebrated her 90th birthday.

And they did not disappoint by collecting £270 for the town’s lifesaving service.

Betty, who lives at Bamburgh Court sheltered accommodation in Clavering, said: “I put it on my invitations that I didn’t want presents this year.

“I don’t eat chocolates and flowers die quickly. I said that I would like money to go to charity and I think the RNLI is the best.

“You never know when you are going to need them.”

The RNLI is also in Betty’s blood. She has been a proud member of the Hartlepool Enterprise Branch, which raises money for the service, for more than 10 years.

And her son Eric Reeve, 69, gave more than 20 years service to the lifeboats, including as coxswain for several years.

Betty, who worked at the former Cerebos food factory in Greatham, added: “I went down to the lifeboat house when Eric was still there to help out just as something to do.

“I have had some fantastic times and thought I would like to do something for them.”

Garry Waugh, Hartlepool RNLI’s second coxswain and mechanic, praised Betty’s amazing donation.

He said: “This is absolutely fantastic. It is people like Betty who keep the lifeboats going.”

Betty, a mother of nine, held a collection at her birthday party at The Schooner, in Seaton Carew, when she was joined by 80 members of her large family.

She set up a collection bucket on a table and asked people to give as much or little as they could.

The money Betty raised will help to buy lifesaving equipment used by the RNLI, including new life jackets.