Hitchin and district RNLI raises record £18,324.79 for sea-rescue charity

Phil Underwell, John Pearce and Richard Cox from the Hitchin and district branch of the RNLI present

Phil Underwell, John Pearce and Richard Cox from the Hitchin and district branch of the RNLI present a cheque for £18,324.79 to Ben Long from the national charity. Picture: Hitchin RNLI - Credit: Archant

A beloved charity that saves lives at sea has seen its branch covering Hitchin, Stevenage, Letchworth and Baldock set another fundraising record.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Hitchin and district fundraising branch raised a staggering £18,324.79 for the charity during 2017, with the help of businesses across our area.

A cheque for the 2017 total was presented to RNLI community fundraiser Ben Long by Hitchin branch secretary Phil Underhill, chairman John Pearce and president Richard Cox.

“All monies raised goes to their funds in general and particularly to the Tower Lifeboat Station on the River Thames, and Cromer Lifeboat Station in Norfolk,” a branch spokeswoman said.

“This was the largest amount raised since we formed fundraising in 1982.

“A big thank you is extended to all supporters and in particular Allingham Butchers and the Garden Café at Codicote’s Wyevale centre. We would also like the mention The Sun Hotel in Hitchin for their ongoing support.”

This year’s mammoth fundraising total means a branch record has been set for the second consecutive year, after the Hitchin RNLI raised an unprecedented £17,988 during 2016.

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Most lifeboat rescues are around the coast, as would be expected – but the majority of people saved actually live inland.

The Hitchin branch has a longstanding close relationship with Cromer Lifeboat Station, and Tower station – the busiest in the country – is just 35 miles from the North Herts town.

It costs around £460,000 every day to run the RNLI – all funded by the public, as the charity receives no money from the government.

The Hitchin and district branch’s volunteer efforts to raise money include a classic car rally in Pirton in August, an annual whist drive and an autumn fair, as well as other fundraising activities and bucket collections.

As well as saving lives at sea, the RNLI supplies lifeguards to beaches and is often involved in saving families from their flooded homes when rivers burst their banks.

The Hitchin and district fundriasing branch always needs more volunteers. To get involved, email John Pearce on pearcej53@virginmedia.com or have a look at facebook.com/HitchinRNLI.

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