November Newsletter

Hello everyone

So, we have reached the time for my final TLF newsletter to you.   As you know, I stand down from the TLF Chair and Kiosk manager roles on 30th November, so from next month your newsletters will come from Peter Thorp, our new TLF Chair.

I am going to ask for your forgiveness this month as I would like to be a little selfish, and rather than update you on what fundraising we have done over the past month, and what’s coming up, I would like to reflect on my 6 years in the Chair, reminiscing on just a few of the great things we have achieved together.

It has been an absolute honour to be associated with such a wonderful fundraising team, Crew and Operational team.   I never could have imagined when I accepted the Chair from Shirley Wheeler back in 2015 that we would grow into the successful team that we have.

I came to the role with some aspirations to change a few things and modernise our approach to fundraising and think that I have achieved most of what I set out to do – always with the great support and help from you all, the TLF Committee, the Lifeboat Station team and the RNLI.

Here are just a few of my special memories of my time with Torbay Lifeboat Fundraisers…..

Let’s shout about what we do……..It occurred to me back in 2015 that we didn’t have a mechanism in place to communicate with, and update, all our fundraising members and supporters on fundraising throughout the year, leaving it until the AGM in March to present a report for the past year.   So, we set about building a process to distribute a monthly newsletter and general update emails, gradually developing it over the years with the results you see today that come to you from our TLF email distribution system.

Reach out to the whole Bay……….Many of you will remember the ‘Brixham Lifeboat Guild’ – TLF’s predecessor.  With the closure of the Torquay fundraising Branch many years ago, and then the Paignton Branch, it seemed the ideal opportunity in 2018 to re-name our Brixham based Guild to become Torbay Lifeboat Fundraisers, with the aim of reaching our fundraising around the whole Bay and encourage fundraising to return in Torquay and Paignton – it’s taken a while, but I think we are gradually getting there!

Proud moments……..Seeing David Ham (ex-Torbay Lifeboat Management Group Chair) receive his MBE in 2016 and Mark Criddle receive his OBE in 2018 – both for their services to the RNLI.

Taking time to say thank you…..we introduced at our AGM, annual awards to TLF members who had ‘gone the extra nautical mile’ – recognising the huge efforts made to our fundraising success.

Our new Shed……..After many years of our volunteers standing in the cold wind and sometimes rain, selling souvenirs from tables outside the Station, we finally opened our new kiosk, which has gone from strength to strength taking in excess of £30k per annum.  Yes, it is referred to as a shed by many, but we are extremely proud of it, and it enables us to trade all year round instead of just April to September as we used to in the ‘old days’!

Great relationships………We have built some very successful fundraising relationships with Businesses around the Bay – Sainsbury’s back in 2016 and Hoburne Holiday Park in 2019 – to name but two!

Let’s Celebrate……….Torbay Lifeboat Station’s 150th Anniversary in 2016 was a fantastic celebration.  My lasting memory will be standing on stage at the Berry Head Hotel alongside Tim Wonnacott from BBC’s Bargain Hunt whilst he auctioned items donated to us for fundraising.

Just like the Albert Hall…….Our numerous PROMS at the Berry Head Hotel – seeing everyone wave their RNLI flags to Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia always brought tears to my eyes!

Likes and Shares…….Getting our TLF social media up and running back in 2018 – enabling us to get our fundraising message out to non-TLF members too!

Girls you can certainly sing ……..Seeing the creation of the Torbay Lifeboat WAGs Choir and their performances at our Christmas Carol Services.

Watch out Slade, you have competition…..I couldn’t possibly mention the WAGs without mentioning our Carol Service in 2019 – the best ever!   Watching our Crew perform ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ is a memory that will live with me forever – what a class act!

Covid……Probably one of my proudest memories – how we managed to keep our fundraising going through such difficult times is just exemplary.   TLF committee – you should be massively proud too – the ideas you came up with were simply incredible, I salute you all!

Special friendships…..I have built some great friendships along the way and had some very amusing moments…..not least with our Crew!….laughing at times until my sides ached.  Treasured memories!

I could go on, and on, but think I must stop now and begin my handover to Peter so that he can continue at the Helm of the great fundraising team that you are.   I will always remain a member of TLF no matter where I am, so will continue to support from afar!

Sadly, my husband Mark is not here to reflect on his time as Fundraising Chair before me, but if he was, I know he would share the pride that I have in being part of the very, very special Torbay Lifeboat Family.

My huge thanks to you all for your support, help and kindness over the past 6 years, you truly are special people.

Take care and God bless you all.


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