A GROUP of dedicated volunteers have thanked the public for their generosity after another successful year of fundraising for lifeboat heroes.
The Hartlepool RNLI Enterprise Branch, which is a dedicated team of volunteers, has managed to raise a mammoth £26,000 over a 12-month period.
All of the funds go towards helping equip volunteer lifeboat crew members who save lives at sea.
The total amount raised between December 2010 and December 2011 was £26,045.93.
The enterprise branch has been holding summer fairs, attending charity events and raising funds from collection boxes across town since 1992.
Each year, funds are also raised from pubs and clubs and from donations in lieu of flowers.
This year has been no different and a £5,000 donation has also come from The Little Green Charity Shop, in Murray Street.
Every year thousands of pounds is also raised through public donations, school fundraisers and contributions from local businesses.
Fundraisers have also thanked staff at ASDA and Tesco supermarkets for their continued support, while Middleton Grange Shopping Centre also lets them fundraise in the centre.
Over the years the Hartlepool RNLI Enterprise Branch has raised in excess of £230,000 and the donations keep coming.
2010, which saw the Tall Ships Races come to Hartlepool, was a record year with around £30,000 being donated over the 12-month period.
But branch members say this year has been a record amount for a “normal year”.
RNLI fundraisers have thanked people for showing their support for volunteer lifeboat crew and lifeguards who risk their lives to save others at sea.
Beryl Sherry, chairperson of the Hartlepool RNLI Enterprise Branch, said: “I would like to thank the community in Hartlepool for their ongoing support towards the RNLI.
“The fundraising is a team effort and everyone plays their part in raising such vital funds.
“There are 12 members on the committee and everyone plays their part.
“It seems to be getting harder to fundraise every year but our total amount always goes up which is testament to the generosity of the people of Hartlepool.
“Every penny counts, no matter how large or small.”
Branch members sell everything from pens, pencils, wallets, diaries, tea towels and calendars at events throughout the year.
All of the money goes towards funding new equipment and maintaining the RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats.
Garry Waugh, Hartlepool RNLI mechanic at the lifeboat station in Ferry Road, said: “The bottom line is that we can’t operate without it.
“All of the money donated is greatly welcomed and it is amazing, especially in the current economic climate, that people are still willing to dip their hands into their pockets and make a donation.”