Fundraising mother and daughter leaving on a high

Posted on 13th December 2016 | in Community

Katrina and her mother Eleanor Cassidy are stepping down from Amble Lifeboat Fundraisers.

A fundraising mother and daughter are stepping down after 14 years, but say they are leaving on a high.

Katrina Cassidy and her mother Eleanor have been at the helm of the recent Shannon fundraising campaign, and now that the new lifeboat is here, the pair have decided to retire from Amble Lifeboat Fundraisers (ALF) committee.

Katrina joined the lifeboat fundraising committee shortly after moving to Amble in 2001. “My friend said ‘come on and join, it’s a great way to meet people’ and a little while after that I dragged mother along,” she laughed.
After retiring as an Intelligence Officer with Northumbria Police, Katrina became ALF’s Treasurer in 2015 and then Chair the same year. Eleanor, who used to work for Castle Morpeth Borough Council, has been Vice Chair ‘for umpteen years’.

Then they heard that they needed to fundraise for a new lifeboat. Despite a bit of a shock at the initial idea, the pair took the challenge of fundraising for the new Shannon lifeboat in their stride.

“When they said ‘you’ve got two years to raise £200,000’ I though WHAT?” said Katrina.

“We used to have two or three coffee mornings a year, a flag day and bag packing day, and of course Harbour Day. We would probably raise £16-18k a year prior to that. But you’ve just got to think outside the box.”

A photographic auction of world renowned photographer Steve Emberton’s rock and pop star photos raised over £400, and the campaign attracted funds from people and community groups from near and far.

The committee increased their coffee mornings to monthly.

Eleanor said “It grew so popular. Building the Harbour Village helped as well; before that not many people walked along this part of the harbour. The coffee mornings are so popular, people now come armed with boxes to take their cakes away. It’s become a meeting place for lots of people.”

And now all the hard work has paid off, with £227k raised and money still coming in. “We’ve achieved what we set out to,” said Katrina. “The extra money will go to training and extra equipment.”

The pair are grateful to everyone who helped raise so much money for such a worthy cause. The Shannon appeal was taken up by local organisations, big and small. Marks and Spencer and the Northumberland Gazette’s Jam Jar appeal were a big help.

“In this day and age, when people are scrambling for money, and then you see the little’uns coming in with their jam jars of pennies, it gives you a warm feeling.” said Katrina.

People’s generosity was breathtaking. “We even got three gold sovereigns in the collection boxes” said Eleanor.
The turnout to see the new lifeboat was also heartwarming, a testament to the whole team and crew’s commitment.

“Amble folks have always been there and are always supporting us. In some ways we feel as if the boat partly belongs to us all. It was so fantastic to see the Shannon come in. I cried!” said Eleanor.

Anna Williams