Lifesaving donations to RNLI will leave lasting legacy of husband
Written by Paul McCann :: [Saturday, 26 September 2015 17:27] [Saturday, 26 September 2015 17:49]
A woman who gave a substantial donation to the RNLI in memory of her late husband has visited one of the beneficiary stations to be thanked in person. Jennifer Martin was welcomed to Aberystwyth RNLI Lifeboat Station on Friday (25 September) by grateful volunteer crew members whose essential training and lifeboat kit received a boost by her generous donation.
Jennifer, who travelled all the way from her West London home to see how her donation will be put to best use at the west Wales station, said her late husband Christopher would have been proud to see the money go to such a worthy cause.
Christopher, a building surveyor who had a long-standing interest in the RNLI and admiration for the work of the charity's volunteers saving lives at sea, lost his brave battle with bowel cancer in 2010. He was 59.
A further substantial donation has been given by Jennifer to the RNLI for its services in Weymouth, which will be split between beach lifeguards and Weymouth RNLI Lifeboat Station.
She said: 'We are doing this to have something longer lasting in my husband's memory and if the money saves one life then it will have been worth it.'
The family's link to Aberystwyth is through eldest daughter Samantha, who studied earth sciences and then completed a Masters degree in environmental monitoring at Aberystwyth University.
Jennifer added: 'Samantha loved her time there – we never thought we'd get her back from Wales at one stage!
'We used to visit and love it there too and the students were aware of the unpredictability of the sea.'
Jennifer, Samantha and second daughter Victoria are all keen swimmers and Christopher, who hailed from land-locked Wiltshire, had a long running fascination with lifeboat stations and the charity's volunteers.
Jennifer said: 'We had a holiday house in Weymouth and holidayed all over Wales and England – there was hardly a lifeboat station we didn't visit over the years.
'He had admiration that the volunteer crews would drop everything to launch in all weathers.'
Jennifer met the Aberystwyth RNLI lifeboat volunteers and she got to see the crew in action as the station's B-class lifeboat was launched on a training exercise.
Mark Morgan, Station Chairman at Aberystwyth RNLI, said: 'It was wonderful to welcome Jennifer to the station and to thank her for her kind donation in person.
'The RNLI charity is separate from the Coastguard and independent from Government and 94% of its income comes from donations.
'An inshore lifeboat station like ours costs around £85,000 to run annually. Each inshore lifeboat crew member's kit costs £1,678 and their annual training costs are £1,527, so Jennifer's donation has gone a long way toward ensuring our volunteers have the best possible training and kit for another year.'
Jennifer, Christopher and their daughters used to take regular holidays to Weymouth, met some of the town's lifeboat crew, made trips to the beaches and watched the boats coming in and out from Weymouth Pier.
Malcolm Wright MBE, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Weymouth RNLI, said: 'We are honoured that Jennifer has donated money to Weymouth RNLI in memory of her late husband. The generous donation will help our volunteer crew continue to save lives at sea and we are incredibly grateful for the support.'
Alice Higgins, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, said: 'Jennifer's donation will allow the RNLI to maintain the lifeguard service based on Greenhill beach in Weymouth for a season, which will provide a massive boost to the safety service we provide.'