Clacton RNLI’s Christmas appeal exceeds all expectations
This year’s Christmas appeal for chocolate selection boxes and gifts, which is in its eighth year, has surpassed all wildest expectations with over 2000 items being donated, some from as far as New Zealand.
All the donations are set to put a smile on a child’s face in a hospital or care establishment over the Christmas period.
The Christmas appeal now in its eighth year is the brain child of Tim Sutton (volunteer Helmsman at Clacton RNLI), who from personal experience with his daughter Amy, knows how miserable it can be over the festive period for children away from home, despite the excellent care and compassion of staff. With a mantra of ‘one gift equals one smile’, and over 10,000 items delivered in eight years, that’s 10,000 smiles.
This year’s appeal kicked off with a pledge of £1,000 worth of gifts from Wayne Hurrel, and a further pledge of £500 from JL Roofing. These were only the tip of the iceberg with items coming in from all parts of the community, one being particularly poignant from Donna Carr (Team Marley), with £150 worth of toys and gifts raised while her own son was undergoing treatment at Addenbrooks for a kidney tumour, and wanted to show her thanks for the compassion given.
The overwhelming generosity of residents and businesses grew with donations coming in from as far as New Zealand, thanks to Karl Patrick. Due to the generosity, it became very difficult to keep track of every contributor, but a few notable ones are: Simon Archer (regular contributor), Morrisons, TDC staff, Ellisons, Essex Cricket Club, staff and customers of Omega property services (Curtesy of Louis Scott, volunteer crew member at Clacton RNLI), to name but a few.
The majority of donations have come from individual residents, in numerous carrier bags left at the Hastings Avenue RNLI lifeboat station, each one set to bring a smile to a child’s face.
One of the many stars of this year’s appeal was Deborah Smith. Deborah set up a crowd funding page to raise £412 in 24hrs. In total £460 was raised.
The appeal culminated with a road trip for Mr Sutton and fellow volunteers from Clacton-on-Sea RNLI, which included RNLI mascot Stormy Stan, thanks to Dial a Ride, and the Snell family, who each year cover the fuel costs for the 300-mile round trip.
Taking in the three counties of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, the team visited 10 establishments caring for children with the 2000 plus items donated. A care package of gifts is to be sent to Gt Ormond St Hospital too.
This is far removed from the early days, when it was some 300 items crammed into the boot of a car, and only being able to visit Addenbrooks and Colchester hospital children’s wards.
This year’s visit was especially special, as it involved Tim’s daughter Amy returning to Addenbrooks for the first time since completing her treatment, and meeting some of the Doctors and nurses that took care of her.
Tim Sutton, as part of, and on behalf of the Clacton-on-Sea RNLI team of volunteers said: ‘I’d like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone who has donated to, and helped with this year’s appeal. It truly makes us proud of our community.’
RNLI Photo captions
1. Wayne Hurrel meets the team at the lifeboat station. Credit: RNLI.
2. The team outside Addenbrooks with Amy (centre). Credit: RNLI.
3. Amy and her Doctor. Credit :RNLI.
4 The team in Colchester. Credit: RNLI.
RNLI media contacts
- Richard Wigley, Lifeboat Press Officer, Clacton RNLI: 07903 424698
- Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer, North East and East: 07824 518641
- For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.