Lifeboat sending SOS for backing

DOZENS of strinken seamen and women were helped by a lifesaving charity in the last year.

Hartlepool's RNLI Lifeboat Station was the fourth busiest on the north of England coast in the last 12 months after dealing with 67 incidents.

RNLI crews in the north of England rescued 1,013 people and launched 1,090 times, while the busiest lifeboat station in the charity's north division last year was Sunderland with 86 rescue launches, followed by Skegness with 69, Redcar with 68 and Hartlepool on 67.

The RNLI's 2010 annual rescue statistics have been released along with the total rescue figures for the past decade that show 10,306 people have been rescued in the north by RNLI volunteers during 11,390 launches since 2001.

To help fund the charity's lifesaving service for the next 10 years and beyond, the RNLI is calling on people to support its biggest annual day of fundraising, SOS Day, which is being held this Friday.

More than 200 events have already been planned in schools, workplaces and lifeboat stations across the region, but charity bosses say there is still time to get involved or make a donation.

In Hartlepool, the town's RNLI Enterprise Branch is staging an afternoon tea at Jackson's Wharf between noon and 3pm on Saturday to raise cash for the event.

The RNLI's divisional inspector north, Andy Clift, said: "The rescue figures just released show the remarkable commitment RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews have to saving lives.

"As well as the time actually spent rescuing people, all our volunteers spend many hours training both at sea and on land to ensure they are fully prepared when the call for help comes. And thanks to them, 10,306 people have been rescued and returned home to their families over the last decade."

The 2010 rescue statistics show that machinery failure was the most common cause of lifeboat launches, with 244 incidents across the divisional area, followed by person in danger of drowning with 114 calls.

The total number of rescues last year was slightly below the ten year of average of 1,139 – possibly as a result of both the weather and the economic situation.

To take part in RNLI SOS Day and for inspiring fundraising ideas, or to simply make a donation, call 0845 1214999 or log onto www.rnli.org.uk/sos