Good afternoon to you, lifesavers, all,
Sitting in the comfort of my home, in my favourite chair I shiver to realise that it is 34 years, today, since the Penlee disaster. Where has that time gone?
It is very difficult for me, a simple Yorkshire Dalesman, to realise, recognise and above all understand how the families who loose loved ones can accept that others from the family still want to volunteers to join the Lifeboat crews, such selflessness and brave people have to be met to be really appreciated.
The only similarity I can associate with such individuals are the mountain and the pothole rescue teams.
In my book all their efforts really takes bravery to a new level.
Yet when I talk to members of these crews/teams they think we, as volunteers, are the heroes, standing out in all weathers hoping members of the public will contribute to our cause.
Bearing in mind the economic situation of the country, and most individuals, 2015 has not, on the whole, been a bad year for the branch. If my memory serves me right we will have cleared some £10k, which is less than our two previous years but HQ pulled out of the local Reindeer Run, and the various supermarkets have been playing very hard to get.
Accordingly our total for the year is below what I would have liked, but must look on the bright side, we have £10k more than we had at the beginning of the year.
As we look forward to 2016 I am extremely pleased to advise that I have at last got confirmation on the Morrisons Westcroft event over the weekend 9th & 10th January. We may have to be indoors owing to structural changes at the site…….doubt any of you will object to that!!.
Final arrangements for the quiz on 23rd January are being made, full details will appear, soon, on our web-site. Hopefully we can have a strong turnout.
Following in the footsteps of their Westcroft store I have at last got a positive result following months of negotiations with Morrisons MK Leisure Plaza. Provisional dates are 6th & 7th February, but as yet to be confirmed.
An event that has been confirmed is our Shanty 4 night………20th February at York House Stony Stratford. Ticket price has been held at £6, but with only 80 seat capacity they soon go. This is a brilliant, entertaining evening with the venue being happy with the bar receipts and the artistes donating their performances. As usual the cast will be headed by “5 Men Not Called Matt” who are now a regular feature on the shanty scene including The Falmouth International Shanty Festival.
Please let me know if you want tickets, the full details will be available on our web-site early in the New Year.
On the question of fundraising, and the attitude of the big supermarket chains, apart from attending the arranged collecting events, an option would be for the distribution of more collecting boxes. Whilst in the main, individually they do not generate large sums, collectively they soon mount up. I know you will all have local shops, pubs, fish & chip shops, chinese/indian restaurants in fact anywhere where people spend money. For some reason members of the public don’t like loose small change, and you will be amazed how quickly the boxes fill up.
There is a choice in the style of box, usually dependent on the shop/pub space available. Just drop me a note giving me the detail and I will pass the request to our box secretary or if you know Steve, ask him direct.
Before closing can I request that at this time of merriment we remember Alice who is facing her first Christmas without her beloved Pancho.
Also in our thoughts could we include the partner and family of Dave Howson the guy who made the model Severn Class boat we have had at events. Dave is seriously ill and only last week donated his model to me/us for the branch use/display.
For my part, thank you for my re-election, it is a very great privilege to lead such a strong and dedicated team, all I hope for the future is that we can recruit more supporters and volunteers to help ease the event burden. I will continue my battle with the likes of ASDA and Frosts in the hope that we can continue to make a useful financial contribution to the fund to continue to save lives, at sea or indeed as has only recently been highlighted, in flooded areas.
Along with Marianne may we wish you all a very Joyous Christmas and a Happy, Peaceful New Year.
Life Member & Governor
RNLI Milton Keynes Fundraising Branch