There has been a massive surprise boost to the £1-million appeal for the new Cowes lifeboat station, proposed for the old Custom House beside The Parade.
Speaking at a meeting at East Cowes of the appeal team, the RNLI's sponsor and appeal manager, Andy Whyte, disclosed that a charitable trust which wished to remain anonymous had just made a single donation of £285,000. "This means that the official appeal total has now risen to £662,709 . 66p," he said.
Warmly welcoming the donation, station manager Mark Southwell declared: "What a wonderful start to the New Year. And Cowes RNLI guild chairman, Anna Morgan Crockett, indicated she was even more hopeful that the full £1-million target could be reached in the coming months, as a result of the many other fund-raising initiatives in the pipeline.
Warm tribute was also paid by the appeal's hon treasurer, Mark Wynter, to the long list of other contributors. "I am stunned at the variety of sources the money has come from," he said. "It amounts to so much human activity, both small and large."
The team learned more monies were already in the system to add to the current grand total, including three cheques presented over the Christmas period. The most unexpected of these was £1,000 from ex-pats working in Saudi Arabia, all members of the Riyadh branch of the Royal Naval Sailing Association. The presentation was made beside Cowes lifeboat in Shepards Wharf Marina to Mark Southwell by Andrew Cubbage, Riyadh business development manager for BAE, while taking a short break on the Island.
"When I worked for BAE at Cowes between 1988 and 2003 I regularly sailed from the port, and appreciated the work of the local lifeboat," he said. "I still have a half-share in a motor launch based at Cowes Corinthian Sailing Club and a flat at Osborne Court on The Parade."
The two other cheques were presented at a popular social event at the Island Sailing Club over the Christmas holiday. One, for £990, from a well-supported club raffle, was presented to Mark Southwell by commodore Rodney Nicholls.
This ceremony was followed by the presentation of a £403 cheque from Bryan and Bjorn Daniels-Hepnar, on behalf of users of East Cowes Marina. The money came from the profits of a laying up supper and raffle held on an earlier date at the Island Sailing Club for the 67 marina berth-holders.
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