Wolseley UK has formally presented a new lifeboat to the RNLI station in Sunderland after purchasing it earlier this year from fundraising proceeds.
The boat, named Wolseley, is an Atlantic 85 class lifeboat, one of the charity’s most technologically advanced vessels. And Sunderland was only the second the station in the north of England to receive one.
It’s the first RNLI inshore lifeboat to have radar, which means it can operate more effectively in reduced visibility. It is also faster and bigger than its predecessor, with room for a fourth crewmember as well as more space for casualties.
Wolseley raised £125,000 to fund the Atlantic 85 by encouraging its 15,000 UK employees, its customers and suppliers to support the RNLI with a number of fundraising events.
Sunderland RNLI senior helmsman Paul Nicholson said Wolseley has already proved her worth, having been put into service in May and already launching 24 times, rescuing 46 people.
“We have already carried out twenty-four rescues in the lifeboat,” he said, “and the increased speed together with the radar and VHF direction-finding equipment have definitely made a difference to our operational effectiveness. On behalf of everyone at Sunderland lifeboat station I would like to thank Wolseley for their wonderful fundraising efforts which have resulted in the donation of our very special new lifeboat.”
Wolseley director Paul Gordon, who named the lifeboat at a formal ceremony at Sunderland Marina on September 8, said: “As a long-established British company, Wolseley is delighted to have been able to sponsor a new RNLI lifeboat to be based at Sunderland. Thanks are due to our staff, customers and suppliers, who have contributed generously to this lifeboat, which will be saving lives for many years to come.”