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Civil Service 53 to Launch Down the Slipway

Clare Parker
Tuesday 1 May 2018

Civil Servants from across the UK have completed their outstanding quest to raise £1.1m for Civil Service Lifeboat Number 53, which will be stationed at Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk.

Celebrating 150 years of fundraising, the Lifeboat Fund set the ambitious target for a state of the art Shannon class lifeboat. In addition, the Lifeboat Fund is contributing an extra £100,000 for the shore works at RNLI Wells which will house the new boat.

Former Vice Patron of the Lifeboat Fund, Admiral (retired) Sir George Zambellas, also worked with Ministry of Defence fundraisers to secure £400,000 from the Chancellor of the Exchequers’ London Interbank Operating Rate (LIBOR) fund.

Fundraising activities across the two years of the appeal included long distance running and cycling, bowling and golf tournaments. Transport Scotland adopted the Lifeboat Fund as its charity during the organisation’s 10th anniversary, and the Civil Service “Etcetera” choir continues to raise money through its concert series. Numerous civil servants have also signed up to payroll giving to continue their support.

The appeal took an unexpected turn in late 2017 as it received a legacy of £445,000 from Miss Louene Smith. This will be used to fund the shore works at Wells and help fund the Lifeboat Fund’s next appeal.

Sir Mark Sedwill, Chair of the Lifeboat Fund, said:

“This is a fantastic achievement which would not have been possible without the support of the Lifeboat Fund’s valiant fundraisers and supporters. Their valiant effort ensured the £400,000 matched funding that was secured from the Chancellor of the Exchequers’ London Interbank Operating Rate (LIBOR) fund was transferred in 2016.

"In particular, I would like to thank the generosity of Miss Louene Smith who gifted a substantial legacy. This will be used to complete the fund for the Shannon class Lifeboat, allow us to contribute to the shore works at Wells where Civil Service 53 will be housed, and give us the base funding for our next appeal, which will focus on Swim Safe and RNLI Lifeguards. I would also like to thank former First Sea Lord and Vice Patron of the Lifeboat Fund, Admiral (retired) Sir George Zambellas for his personal leadership in securing LIBOR funds for the appeal.”

Chris Hardy, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager at Wells Lifeboat Station, said:

“On behalf of the crew and all the volunteers here at Wells Lifeboat Station I would like to say a very big 'thank you'. We are all delighted that The Lifeboat Fund has managed to raise this considerable sum of money for our new Shannon lifeboat and boathouse. We have enjoyed meeting some of the trustees and fundraisers during the fundraising campaign and we know how hard everyone has worked to help us to get our new lifeboat. We expect building will start on our new boathouse very soon and that our Shannon Lifeboat, Civil Service 53, will be on station by 2020.” 

The focus of fundraising for The Lifeboat Fund now switches to education and prevention as it supports the RNLI’s Swim Safe programme, which gives young people free outdoor swimming lessons, and the RNLI’s lifeguarding service on beaches across the UK and Northern Ireland. For the first time, The Lifeboat Fund will also support one of the RNLI’s international programmes to tackle drowning through training, delivery programmes, skills sharing and equipment: Lifeguards and Swim Safe in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.