Charity sailing high thanks to cash donation from store

Hartlepool RNLI volunteers receiving the cheque at the Ferry Road lifeboat station from Marks and Spencer's Dalton Park Outlet staff.
Hartlepool RNLI volunteers receiving the cheque at the Ferry Road lifeboat station from Marks and Spencer's Dalton Park Outlet staff.

Shoppers have helped the future of a charity look ship shape after a store campaign helped raise £17,500 for its funds.

The cash has been donated to Hartlepool RNLI’s lifeboat station following a host of events staged by the team at the Marks and Spencer outlet at Dalton Park in Murton.

'Stormy Stan' joined Hartlepool RNLI volunteers on the all weather lifeboat along with Marks and Spencer's Dalton Park Outlet staff during the cheque presentation at the Ferry Road lifeboat station.

'Stormy Stan' joined Hartlepool RNLI volunteers on the all weather lifeboat along with Marks and Spencer's Dalton Park Outlet staff during the cheque presentation at the Ferry Road lifeboat station.

It is the second year the store has backed the charity, with the funds raised to support the day-to-day running of the station and its two lifeboats.

It will also purchase vital protective kit such as lifejackets and helmets that the volunteer lifeboat crew wear at sea.

In the last year the Hartlepool team has rescued 85 people and through the ongoing partnership with the M&S shop, the charity will be able to save many more lives at sea.

A range of in-store activities took place to help raise the funds, as well as some team members participating in sporting challenges such as Tough Mudder, triathlons, and 10k runs. Others knitted little yellow wellies for the RNLI team to sell with chocolate eggs at Easter.

As a charity, we depend on the support of the local community to help us meet the cost of saving lives at sea.

Mike Craddy

The store also provided customers with small jars called Betty’s 5p pots to fill with loose change to help towards the cause.

The concept has proved so popular that other stores within the retail park are getting involved.

Last year, the store has raised more than £13,000 for an RNLI station in Sunderland.

The store’s fundraising efforts are currently ranked number one in the country for an M&S Outlet, while the store has also been nominated for a Pride of M&S award, at M&S’s annual employee awards ceremony.

Store manager Gill McAuley said: “The RNLI and Hartlepool Lifeboat Station provides an invaluable service for the local community and is a cause that is close to the hearts of our employees and customers. 
“We have thoroughly enjoyed raising funds for the charity and I would like to thank everyone involved for their efforts.”

Mike Craddy, RNLI Lifeboat operations manager at Hartlepool Lifeboat Station, said: “We are extremely grateful for everyone’s generosity and over-the-moon to have been given the opportunity to partner with M&S.

“As a charity, we depend on the support of the local community to help us meet the cost of saving lives at sea.

“It costs £1,593 to provide an all-weather lifeboat crew member with the vital kit that they need to carry out rescues and £1,881 for an inshore crew member.

“A huge thank you and well done to the M&S team and customers for their continued fundraising success.”

RNLI community fundraising manager, Gill King, added: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing support from the staff and customers at M&S Dalton Park. Such donations provide an essential lifeline to our charity and we are extremely grateful.

“Thanks must also go to our RNLI Durham Branch who have worked tirelessly to support the partnership and its innovative fundraising ideas.”