Volunteers raise £5k for life jackets

THANKS: Sylvia Johnson (second left) and Doreen Dixon of the charity shop with RNLI vounteer crew members Fred Robinson (left) and Richard Dowson, who were showing the fundraisers some of the life jackets used by the crew

THANKS: Sylvia Johnson (second left) and Doreen Dixon of the charity shop with RNLI vounteer crew members Fred Robinson (left) and Richard Dowson, who were showing the fundraisers some of the life jackets used by the crew

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HARD-WORKING charity shop volunteers have raised thousands of pounds for new life jackets for RNLI crews.

Volunteers from The Hospital Charity Shop, in Murray Street, in Hartlepool, have donated £5,000 to Hartlepool’s lifeboat crew members.

The money, from sales of clothing and bric-a-brac, will go towards a £9,000 set of new state-of-the-art lifejackets and comes on top of more than a quarter-of-a-million pounds the shop has donated to worthy causes over the years.

This is the third time the shop, which is also known as The Little Green Shop and has seven volunteers, has donated £5,000 to the RNLI cause in recent years.

Sylvia Johnson, a 79-year-old grandmother-of-four and great-grandmother-of-two, has worked in the shop, which is open daily and always looking for donated goods, for 40 years.

She said it was formerly a food shop but has been a charity shop for 30 years.

Stockton Road resident Mrs Johnson, who is mother to Angela Smith, 55, who lives in Australia, said the money was raised through sales of quality goods, including men’s suits for £2 and more expensive China.

She added that volunteers first starting helping the RNLI when they heard about thieves stealing vital lifeboat fuel.

Mrs Johnson remembers polishing a lifeboat as a seven-year-old growing up in Middleton, said: “The lifeboat crews do excellent work.”

Beryl Sherry, chairman of Hartlepool RNLI Enterprise Branch, said: “The ladies at the shop work miracles for everybody.

“We can’t thank them enough and they always seem to come with donations when we need them the most.”

Mike Craddy, Hartlepool RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “The new life jackets are being rolled out nationally and are quite state-of-the-art and a big improvement on the current design, which has been used for quite a few years.

“The women at the shop have supported us extremely well and we are really grateful for it.

“It was such a surprise the first time they presented us with quite a large amount of money and it’s absolutely fantastic.”