Selsey community unites in unique way to raise funds for vandalised lifeboat station
Residents in Selsey have demonstrated heartwarming community spirit to support the lifeboat station which fell victim to vandalism earlier this month.
Whilst responding to an incident at Selsey Bill on Sunday (September 13), in which six adults and children were cut off by the tide, the RNLI lifeboat crew found one of its windows had been smashed, alongside the footpath that runs down between the station and public toilets.
Having heard the news, local residents Tom Hendrie, a former London firefighter, and regular fundraiser Roy Weyman wanted to help out in a unique way.
Whilst stuck at home during lockdown, Tom, 74, used his talent for sketching by starting a business, with his drawings of birds being sold as far as Australia.
He said: “I heard about the nasty incident at the lifeboat station, whilst they were out on a shout.
“We don’t need anyone going round vandalising property like that. It’s disgraceful.
“I asked my wife, Sue, what she thought about us donating one of our sketches, to see how much it would raise. Even just a little bit towards the window.”
With the assistance of Facebook community page, The Selsey Grapevine, Tom’s black and white sketch of an Avocet was put up for auction and eventually bought for £40, with the money going towards replacing the broken window.
Tom added: “It was one of the nicest sketches I’ve done up until now [and] it raised £40.
“I thought that was brilliant. It’s something my wife and I are really chuffed about.
“Being an ex-London firefighter in the 1960s, I know any emergency equipment or building should be cherished and looked after.
“Nearly every week, the [the lifeboat volunteers] are saving a life. I can’t believe how many times they’ve been out recently.
“They’re fully trained and are absolutely fantastic at what they do. They’re a wonderful service.
“I’m really proud that I’ve done a little bit for them. Maybe I can do something again later on.”
Having helped Tom put his drawing up for auction, Roy Weyman, who raised more than £5,800 for the Selsey RNLI in 2017, was able to provide a further boost by selling key fobs, made from paracord.
He said: “I wanted to help raise some money for them to help go to the repair of the window and as with all charities it’s been a tough year for them to raise money.
“I had already made three designs of key fobs for the RNLI which I call lifeboat ‘lifebuoy’ key fobs.
“They sell for £3.00 each and £1.50 of it goes to The Selsey RNLI.
“The lifeboat crew risk their lives to save others and they deserve all the money we can raise no matter how small, is very worthwhile for what they do. It’s a privilege to help them.”
Roy said he expected the fundraising total to rise above £100.
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