The campaign to keep a lifeboat at St Abbs has been phenomenal, local fund raising every bit as important as the generous £260,000 donation by Tunnock’s biscuit company owner Thomas Tunnock.
Among the many fundraising events that have taken place in recent months, one that caught the eye was the St Abbs Market Traders “cheeky” caldendar.
The traders had already decided to raise money for the local lifeboat earlier last year by creating their own calendar, several months before the RNLI announced it was closing the local lifeboat station and removing the boat.
“We had no idea whether or not people would actually want to buy the calendar to help our fundraising efforts,” said a spokesperson for the traders.
“It was only when it was announced that St Abbs lifeboat station was to close that it became apparent that any fundraising needed to be a success and we hoped that visitors to the market would see the
seriousness beyond the fun images and back our campaign to help.
Visitors did indeed recognise the need to support the calendar and St Abbs Market Traders recently handed over a cheque for £3,935.81, the proceeds from their 2016 calendar, to members of the crew and committee of the new St Abbs Independent Lifeboat.
The 500 copies sold out before Christmas and with local businesses taking out adverts to sponsor the printing costs the market traders were able to boost the lifeboat appeal fund by almost £4,000.
“We are, like so many, excited about the future of the new independent lifeboat in St Abbs, and although our donation is a drop in the ocean we are happy that we were able to help towards the continuing success of this great campaign.
“If that means our bare flesh adorning walls all over the region, and even in Australia, America and many other countries besides, we’re proud we did our bit.”
Once the new lifeboat arrives in St Abbs there is still plenty of work to do - it is estimated that it will cost between £20,00-£30,000 a year to keep it operational and fundraising efforts will have to continue.
When the battle to persuade the RNLI to keep the lifeboat at St Abbs was lost, organisers did not lose heart and locals and visitors rallied to the cause, continuing their fundraising efforts to buy a boat and continue operating their own independent life saving service.
It looks likely that less than a year after the RNLI boat left the harbour, those efforts will be rewarded with a new independent service - with a fully trained crew and operating within the necessary Coastguard criteria - will be back in action at St Abbs.