Wizard of a day raises thousands to save lives at sea

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Tobermory lifeboat had a bit of Harry Potter help at the weekend to conjure up around £4,500 for saving lives at sea.

The wizard-themed weekend kicked off on Friday with a cocktail night at the Tobermory Gallery Cafe where Alexandra Stevens and her team transformed the eatery into Hogwarts dining hall, served up Polyjuice and Butter Beer, donating part of the sales to the town’s RNLI.

Raft racers brave the wind and rain at Tobermory Lifeboat Day. Picture by Sam Jones/RNLI.
Tobermory RNLI education volunteer Kirsty Blackhall and crew member Rose Skelton preparing prawn cocktails. Picture by Sam Jones/RNLI.
Owls at Tobermory Lifeboat Day courtesy of Kintail Birds of Prey. Picture by Sam Jones/RNLI.
Alex Stevens and a dementor at the Harry Potter cocktail night at the Gallery Cafe. Picture by Sam Jones/RNLI.

On Saturday night, the Mishnish Hotel hosted a party with a singing Gandalf the Grey, aka Robert Farrell, belting out some disco tunes with a raffle in aid of the charity.

Despite heavy rain on Sunday and a cold northerly wind, islanders and visitors turned out to support the lifeboat day, the highlight of Tobermory RNLI’s fundraising year.

The event was opened by a foot-stomping performance from the Tobermory Seahawks cheerleaders who paraded down the Main Street led by Tobermory Womble.

The Harry Potter theme continued with the teenage wizard’s owl Hedwig, courtesy of Kintail Birds of Prey, putting in a starring appearance.

There was also a fancy dress parade for adults and children, Loch Fyne Oysters donating all of their proceeds from selling seafood to the good cause. There were also prawn cocktails and lobsters donated by local fishermen, Tobermory High School pupil and fisherman Rio Brown selling crabs, lobsters, prawns and squats, as well as some smoked fish delights from the Tobermory Fish Company.

The barbecue sold 320 burgers, raising £1,120, and visitors were able to take a peek at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s research vessel Silurian.

Alastair Satchel compered the day and musical entertainment was provided by a homegrown band Flora.

There was a tribute and a minute’s applause for the much-missed Anne Cookie Flavell who volunteered as a deputy launching authority and lifeboat treasurer at Tobermory for more than 21 years and sadly died this year.

And there was an auction for a leather journal beautifully crafted by John Boyle in memory of Cookie which was auctioned raising £30 for one of her favourite charities, Mary’s Meals.

The main attraction of the day, of course, was Tobermory’s Severn-class all- weatherlifeboat, Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey, with more than 400 people taking the opportunity to go aboard and meet the crew.

Raft races ended the day with three crews braving the cold and wet conditions.

Tobermory RNLI coxswain David McHaffie thanked everyone who turned out  despite the dreich weather, saying £4,500 was a tremendous sum showing the generosity of the community and visitors.

‘This will help us to continue to help others at sea. I’d also like to thank everyone who helped out on the day, particularly our hardworking volunteer fundraisers who made the day such an outstanding success,’ he added.

Tobermory’s Lifeboat Weekend rounded off a particularly busy spell for the volunteer crew with five call-outs in the week before.

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