An iconic lifeboat is being kept afloat thanks to a generous donation from a Teesside community benefit fund.
The Princess Royal Lifeboat, based in Hartlepool Marina, has been given a grant of £1,000 by the Tees Valley Community Foundation on behalf of EDF Energy Renewables, operator of the Teesside Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Redcar.
The community benefit fund grant, which will be donated to the Princess Royal Restoration Association, is intended to help maintain the 46ft wooden lifeboat, which is famous for playing a vital role throughout the war years and saving the lives of 94 people whilst serving the Hartlepool waters between 1939 and 1968.
Brenda Hutchinson, volunteer at the Princess Royal Restoration Association said: “Our aim is to continue to promote the Princess Royal wooden lifeboat as a working museum and to support the interest in our maritime heritage.
“Donations and volunteers are essential for us to keep the boat in good order and in her original condition cosmetically, so we were very grateful to the foundation for the support.”
The Princess Royal Restoration Association was established in 2000 and has three committee members and four volunteers which support the work on the lifeboat.
In the early days of the war, the Princess Royal, which was built for the equivalent of £1m in 1938, was involved in the rescue of a Spitfire crew believed to have been the first ever to be shot down over the North Sea.
James Wilson, operations engineer for the wind farm at EDF Energy Renewables, said: “We were happy to step in to help such an important organisation to the local community.
“The Princess Royal Restoration Association preserves a part of the history of Hartlepool, and we support the volunteer’s hard work in maintaining a part of the heritage of the area.
“This excellent project is one of many community-led initiatives that we have supported. There are many great local community groups doing wonderful things in their neighbourhoods and these are exactly the sort of schemes that the community benefit fund is designed to support.”
EDF Energy Renewables has supported more than 70 local projects and activities through the Teesside Offshore Community Benefit Fund, which was launched last year by the company in partnership with the Tees Valley Community Foundation.
Through the scheme, community groups on Teesside are eligible to apply for financial support for projects, activities and events that benefit local people.