Charity of the Year 2020 - The Isle of Wight Independent Lifeboats

On the 30th January 2020 Red Funnel announced that the Isle of Wight Independent Life Boats, a collaboration of Freshwater Independent Lifeboat, Sandown & Shanklin Independent Lifeboat and Ryde Inshore Rescue, had been elected as its Charity of the Year (COTY), 2020, voted for by RF staff and customers. 

The lifeboat groups joined forces to submit a joint application to Red Funnel’s COTY program and will share the funds raised. Funding will support the groups’ operations which are united in a common goal of saving lives at sea and along the coastline. All three groups, which work in conjunction with other emergency services such as Her Majesty’s Coastguard, RNLI, Ambulance, Police, IW Search & Rescue, as well as suicide prevention groups, are entirely operated by volunteers and are privately funded through donations.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Mark Birch, Operations Manager at Sandown & Shanklin Independent Lifeboat, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won this distinction. What makes it even more special is that it has been awarded by Red Funnel staff and customers who travel the same waters in which we serve. Alongside our Independent lifeboat family, Freshwater Independent Lifeboat and Ryde Inshore Rescue, we are committed to ensuring that anyone in need of assistance in or around our waters knows that our volunteer crews are on call 24/7 and ready to offer assistance.”

Principle Fundraiser Rod Adams, of Freshwater Independent Lifeboat added: "To have a major sponsor such as Red Funnel supporting us for a whole year means a great deal to us. It could not have come at a better time as major projects now under way need every bit of support we can get."

Fran Collins, CEO at Red Funnel, said: “We’d like to give our congratulations to the Isle of Wight Independent Lifeboats which has been selected as Red Funnel’s 2020 Charity of the Year. It was tough competition with a great number of worthy applications. As a fellow maritime organisation, this year’s elected charity has a great synergy with Red Funnel, and we look forward to working in partnership throughout the year as the group continues to raise funds for its vital work at sea and along the Hampshire and Isle of Wight coastline.”