Ann is the pride of RNLI – our latest Pride of Hartlepool nominee

Hartlepool RNLI fundraiser Ann Wray.
Hartlepool RNLI fundraiser Ann Wray.

COME rain or shine - Ann Wray never misses a chance to fundraise.

The 68-year-old from Hartlepool has gathered funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for 22 years. She has no idea how much she has raised other than “it’s a lot.”

But the valiant work of the West View area resident has not gone unnoticed.

She has been nominated for a Pride of Hartlepool award and is now in the running for the Fundraiser of the Year title.

“I am shocked,” admitted Ann, a former machinist at the John Collier clothing factory in Hartlepool. “I just do it because the RNLI crews do fantastic work. They are a fabulous bunch of lads and their job is very important.”

But the Pride competition is not the only recognition coming Ann’s way.

In June, she will collect the RNLI’s own silver badge for her dedication, in a ceremony at York Racecourse.

Ann is one of an army of volunteers who help to raise funds for a vital service that saves lives at sea. Its volunteer crews provide a 24-hour search and rescue service from 236 lifeboat stations.

But the RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As well as raising money, Ann is also the souvenir secretary and the box secretary, who makes sure collection boxes are emptied.

Ann has an affinity with the RNLI. She explained: “My brother in law used to be the coxswain.”

Her dedication has been recognised by her friend Apolena Wilson who put in the nomination. She said: “No matter what the weather, she will be there to help raise funds. She has done it voluntarily for years. It is hard work but it is vital to help the excellent work of our lifeboat station.”

We are calling on our readers to nominate that special person or people who have done something that you believe deserves recognition.

It could be anyone from 999 heroes to community champions – help us celebrate those who have done their town proud.

You have until early March to put forward your favourites and we want to make this a record year for entry numbers – but the only way we can do that is with your help.

So come on. Fill in the nomination form in the Hartlepool Mail today, or visit www.hartlepool.mail.co.uk and complete the online entry form.