Poole lifeboat crew applaud long standing fundraisers
Volunteering is good for the heart and the soul, a couple from Poole have given their heart and soul to raising money for Poole Lifeboat Station
Brian has been an RNLI governor for over 50 years, but they both attended an RNLI Jazz event in the then recently opened Lifeboat College a dozen or so years ago, Brian (in his words) was literally ‘clocked’ by a few of the fundraisers and by the time he had left the event he had been signed up to be the Fundraising Chairman of Poole Lifeboat Station.
With Marge his ‘PA’ by his side, he then took on the mission of getting the Old Lifeboat Museum re-opened, Marge and Brian had taken over the reins from John and Mary Clark, the museum had been neglected and mothballed for some time. Brian was very instrumental in how the museum looks and feels today, keeping the heritage and flavour of the building. Brian’s ‘PA,’ Marge had by then added souvenir secretary to her CV but the museum was forced to close temporarily for a while down to ‘Health and Safety’.
Brian set about getting it reopened, galvanising a good team, a band of willing happy volunteers, the lifeboat crew came down and helped to clean the museum before it re-opened each Easter, and the volunteers got together for a thank you coffee morning at the beginning and at the end of the season, the museum and team had a new lease of life and a lick of paint . The museum has over 30,000 visitors through the door each year and has a good write up on Trip Advisor, the volunteers that work there are very welcoming and raise a lot of money.
Brian also registered the Thomas Kirk Wright with the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships giving her the credence and protection that the revered ‘Old gal’ deserved.Thomas Kirk Wright was on service in Poole from 1938-1962, and was the station's first motor lifeboat, she resides in retirement in her original boat house. Brian and Marge were both very involved in helping to organise the 70th and 75th commemorative Dunkirk ceremonies held on the quayside outside the museum.
They both worked tirelessly as custodians of the museum alongside careful supportive succession planning enabling the the fundraising branch to grow from strength to strength. Fundraising meetings were held monthly at the station and everyone mucked in, sharing various roles at the museum, at the station and fundraising in general.
Brian passed the baton onto a new chairman and Marge to a new souvenir secretary but continued supporting the station and until recently Brian and Marge had the Saturday morning slot at the museum. Brian emptied and banked over 20 collection boxes including the museum box which is a very important box for the branch.
They were both enthusiastic tour guides at the Lifeboat College, meeting and greeting visitors from all over the world in fact they have been such fantastic ambassadors for the RNLI, they even organised a SOS fundraising event whilst on a cruise holiday which raised thousands of pounds.
The Jazz theme continued and was also a major fundraiser for the Poole branch, Chris Traves, Brian and Marge’s son came down with 'his mates' (professional West end jazz musicians) to entertain the crowds at the Sandbanks Hotel,the event was always sold out raising thousands of pounds over the years.
Marge orchestrated the selling of Christmas cards and gifts in the many retirement homes around Poole, which was very popular with the residents.
They have both been incredibly supportive, despite ill health and ups and downs, they have both gone above and beyond for the station, supporting events like the Spratts Supper, Open day and coffee mornings to collecting outside the supermarket in all weathers.
On behalf of the crew and as gratitude of thanks to all the fundraisers, lifeboat volunteer, Adrian Rosser thanked and presented Brian, a framed picture of the City of Sheffield and Sgt Bob Martin (Civil servant no 50) and to Marge a bouquet of flowers, a small token, presented with a huge amount of gratitude.
The couple received a standing ovation from the floor as the station collectively thanked them both, for all their love and support of Poole Lifeboat and their commitment to raising a truly amazing amount of funds over the years.
Lifeboat volunteer Anne-Marie Clark said;
'Brian and Marge have been critical to the fundraising at Poole lifeboat station, I have had the pleasure of fundraising alongside them for the past 12 years or so, they have been the backbones, the foundations, that so much good has been built upon, we are truly sorry to see them leave and we will miss them'.
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.