AN SOS has gone out to help Hartlepool’s courageous lifeboat crews.
The town’s Volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew needs to raise £3,000 to buy new state-of-the-art lifejackets which will protect them on perilous rescues.
The dedicated volunteers risk life and limb to answer distress calls but their work has to be funded on a charitable basis and carried out by volunteers.
Their courage is unquestionable but their kit needs upgrading and the new lifejackets will be ready in early 2012.
The new lifejackets have been designed by the RNLI and manufacturer Crewsaver to meet the charity’s search and rescue requirements and are a far cry from the original cork lifejackets invented in 1854.
Hartlepool is one of 33 lifeboat stations in the north of England that will be receiving the new kit next year.
Mike Craddy, of Hartlepool RNLI, said: “Volunteer lifeboatmen and women often put themselves in difficult and dangerous situations while rescuing others.
“To help them carry out their role as safely as possible, we owe it to our crews to provide them with the very best equipment available.
“However, our charity is only able to do that with the generosity and support of the public, who I hope will do all they can to help us raise the funds needed to give our lifeboat volunteers new lifejackets in 2012.”
The new lifejackets will provide a comfortable, secure fit, increasing efficiency and effectiveness in lifesaving.
Mr Craddy added: “The RNLI has always endeavoured to advance and improve its safety equipment to keep pace with changing demands and technological developments.
“These new lifejackets incorporate the best modern technology available to help our volunteer crews carry on doing what they have done for the past two centuries – save lives at sea.”
The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and Government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service.
The charity will hold its biggest annual fundraising day – SOS Day – on Friday, January 27, 2012 and is asking supporters to target their efforts towards buying the new lifejackets.
Anyone who can help with a donation or who has a fundraising idea in Hartlepool should contact Mike or Garry Waugh at Hartlepool Lifeboat Station on (01429) 266103.
You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any fundraising ideas or pledges.