Lifeboat institution is on the brink of closure

The Halifac branch of the RNLI

The Halifac branch of the RNLI

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A long standing institution could face extinction after 118 years in Halifax.

The Halifax branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is desperately short of members and could be forced to close for good unless new volunteers can be found.

The branch currently only has six members and chairman Dave Gledhill said that more are needed to fulfil their busy fundraising diary as they try to raise £50,000 by the end of next year.

“At the moment we’re just over halfway towards that target but we’re short of volunteers,” he said.

“We’ve had to cancel some events because we just don’t have the numbers and that’s a real issue for the future of this branch in Halifax.”

Dave took over the leadership of the committee three and a half years ago and galvanised support for the group before work and family commitments lead to the loss of members.

“People have other things going on in their lives which is understandable, but we’ve lost half our membership and it makes it hard,” said Dave.

“We’ve got our big Tesco collection days coming up but will only be able to go to one of them rather than them all.

“We’re not necessarily looking for members on the committee but we’re looking for people who can give up some time at weekends for this really worthy cause.

“I know it’s a cliche but a volunteer is unpaid not because they’re worthless but because they’re priceless and think that message applies here,” he said.

The RNLI branch was only launched in 1963, but support for the boats has had a presence in Halifax since 1894, when the first ‘lifeboat Saturday’, now known as ‘flag day’, was held.

For more information, email hxbranch@halifaxlifeboat.org.