Incredible £88k gift to Lifeboat

Fleetwood Lifeboat has been boosted by one of the biggest donations in its history - an astonishing legacy of £88,000.

Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 1:10 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:12 am
Feature on Fleetwood Lifeboat Crew. Pictured is Gary Randles.

The generous gift was given by an elderly woman from Hambleton, Madge Parkinson, who died at the age of 99.

Miss Parkinson, who never married and left no children, was a lifelong supporter of the charity.

Fleetwood Lifeboat (RNLI) coxswain, Gary Randles, attended a special memorial service for Miss Parkinson at the The Blessed Mary Virgin Church, on Church Lane in Hambleton, on Sunday.

Lifeboat Day at Fleetwood. One of the inshore boats in action.

Mr Randles, from Fleetwood, said: “This is an absolutely magnificent donation to the Fleetwood Lifeboat crew. “All bequests and donations, big or small, are important to the RNLI and help keep the station and crew fully prepared for saving lives at sea.

“But this is a fantastic gesture from Madge. We are all very grateful and never expected something of this scale.”

Miss Parkinson lived for most of her life with her two brothers in the Over Wyre village.

Like all the RNLI stations across the UK, Fleetwood Lifeboat receives no statutory funding from councils or Government sources.

Lifeboat Day at Fleetwood. One of the inshore boats in action.

It relies on its own fund-raising endeavours and moneyspinners staged by its supporters.

But above all the Lifeboat is dependant on legacies, with 66 per cent of its revenue coming from such bequests.

Last year the organisation, across the UK, received no less than 2,700 legacies which helped keep it afloat.

Ken Harcombe, from Fleetwood Lifeboat station, said: “This is undoubtedly one of the biggest donations in our history and it is vital.

“We don’t know exactly how the money will be spent but to give people an example of our expenses, it costs around a quarter of a million pounds a year to run the station,

“To fully kit out just one of our volunteers with all the necessary kit, it would cost us around £2,500

“So these legacies are absolutely vital in helping us to potentially save lives and this one will go a long way.”

The Reverend John Squires, minister The Blessed Mary Virgin Church, said; “The service was a way of thanking Madge for what she had done.

“She was a very private person but she wanted to help good causes and also left some money to other organisations as well.”

Fleetwood Lifeboat is one of the busiest stations in the North of England, with more than 80 call-outs last year.

Last year Fleetwood also received a £2.2m state-of-the art Shannon class vessel, the Kenneth James Pierpoint. The new lifeboat was funded by another generous legacy left to the charity by Miss Kathleen Pierpoint from Altrincham, Cheshire, who died in 2012.

She requested the RNLI use her gift to help provide a lifeboat in memory of her brother Kenneth, a young RAF pilot killed in a World War Two flying accident in 1942.