Fundraisers retire from the RNLI after more than 100 years
Jean Halls, 73, andVal Kemp, 71, have helpe to raise tens of thousands of pounds through a variety of activities over the years for the chairty that saves lives at sea.
The pair have formally retired from their positions at the Walton and Frinton fundraising guild in Essex. Mrs Halls was Chairman and Mrs Kemp was Vice Chairman.
They had both recieved silver badges in recent years from the RNLI in recognition of their long service. It was a tradition for crew members wives to raise money to support the RNLI and Mrs Halls began when she married Derek Halls in 1955.
Their son, Trevor Halls, is Second Coxswain at the Walton and Frinton lifboat station, and five generations of the family have been involved with the RNLI. Trevors grandfather, Frank Halls, was the first Mechanic, from 1906 to 1934.
Mrs Halls recalled: "Basically, when I married, I did not know a boat from a car but I decided if you can not beat them, then you have to join them. In those days the wife's role was to help with the fundraising. Ihave thoroughlt enjoyed it and made lots of friends."
Mrs Kemp's wedding in 1959 coincided with the acceptance of her husband Robert into the lifeboat station. He later became Coxswain for 8 years from 1986 to 1994.
Mrs Kemp said: "The comraderie of the other crew members' wives and the very committed peopple that I met, will stay with me."
An Essex lady who watched RNLI volunteer crews go out on lifeboat rescues from her Walton-on-the-Naze cliff-top house, has stunned the charity by leaving them a £1 million plus legacy gift.
The identity of the warm-hearted benefactor is not being made public at the request of her family. She never married and did not have children. However, her family would watch the local RNLI lifeboats from their holiday home at Walton-on-the-Naze.
From this they became interested in the work of the lifesaving charity, and the donor and her siblings were keen to ensure the RNLI would benefit from their estate. The donor was in her 90s when she passed away, and it is expected that her gift for the Walton and Frinton lifeboat station could be well in excess of £1M when the administration of the estate is complete.
The RNLI Walton and Frinton lifeboat station will derive much benefit from the generous legacy, and comes at a time when the station has just finished celebrating its 125th anniversary.
Initially the legacy will be used on crew training and on a lifejacket exchange programme for all the volunteers at Walton and Frinton. It costs an average of £1,214 a year to train each volunteer crew member, while a lifejacket, if provided brand new, costs £385. The RNLI’s Fundraising and Communications Manager in the east, Sarah Halls, explains: ‘The RNLI is delighted to have received such a generous legacy, and we are truly grateful to her and her family. The work of our lifeboat crews, along with the provision of the best possible boats, equipment and training to ensure their safety, relies upon the generosity of people like this kind-hearted lady. Although it is quite rare to receive a legacy gift of this magnitude, six out of ten lifeboat launches and rescues are only made possible because of legacy gifts, so a gift like this is vital to the RNLI.
‘I’d like to add that all legacy gifts, no matter how small or large, are really important to the RNLI. Whether the gift contributes to a pair of boots or to a boat for the volunteers – all the legacies add up to help our volunteer crews stay safe while saving lives, and we are extremely grateful for every legacy gift that is left to us.’
The RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager at Walton and Frinton, Phil Oxley, adds: ‘It is not every day the RNLI receives a gift of more than £1M and this was a wonderful gesture which was fully appreciated by all our volunteers at the RNLI charity.’
When Mr Oxley, a builder, learnt about the gift he realised he had met the donor 35 years ago when he did some building work on her Essex home. At the time he was launcher with the lifeboat station, and he had no idea of her future generosity.
For those wanting to find out more about leaving a gift to the RNLI please contact Mark Allwood, RNLI Legacy Enquiry Manager. Mark explains: ‘I’m more than happy to help answer any questions anyone might have about leaving a gift in their will to the RNLI. We appreciate that most people will want to ensure that their family and loved ones are cared for first – but many people may not realise that even a small percentage of the residue of their remaining estate will leave a lasting legacy by helping our volunteers to save lives.
‘Some may also be interested to learn that while the RNLI prefers to be left more open ended gifts, that allow the charity to use the donation where it is most urgently required, it will also do its best to accommodate a donor’s wishes if they feel particularly keen for their gift to be used in a certain area or on a particular project.