RNLI rescue Open Day with digital fundraiser

Mac Rodwell, age eight, came first in the baking contest.

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Oban RNLI’s first digital fundraising event saw the station raise more than £800 for its lifesaving charity.

Oban Lifeboat Station sadly had to cancel its annual open day in line with government guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, which is usually one of the station’s biggest fundraisers was due to take place on June 20. Instead, the station took to its Facebook page to bring some Open Day fun to their supporters digitally, aiming to raise some cash for the lifesaving charity in the process.

The event ran for the entire month of June and competitions included RNLI-themed baking, guess the weight of the lobster and a colouring in competition. The station also shared video tours around their lifeboat the ‘Mora Edith MacDonald’, introduced some of their volunteers and station officials and shared some RNLI-themed activities for followers to enjoy at home.

Supporters were encouraged to donate to the RNLI via their Facebook fundraiser.

Leonie Mead, Oban Lifeboat’s Press Officer said: ‘It’s been great interacting with our supporters digitally while we are unable to do so face to face.

‘We wanted to include something for everyone; a mix of educational and fun activities, and it’s been amazing to see the effort everyone put into their competition entries.’

The lucky winners included Mac Rodwell, age eight, who rose to the top in the baking competition and Eachann Brown age 10 who won the colouring in competition.

Through Facebook, the station collected donations of £461 for the RNLI, a further £361 was raised thanks to two generous supporters who held fundraising events of their own.

Judith MacDougall Vajk of Caledonian Oysters kindly donated £210 from oysters sales over the weekend of the station’s cancelled open day, from her honesty box on the edge of Loch Creran. Another local supporter, May Mackenzie, held a raffle for a bottle of Oban lifeboat whisky through Facebook herself, raising £151 for the lifesaving charity.

Phil Hamerton, Oban Lifeboats fundraising chairman, said: ‘We’d like to thank everyone who tuned in, took part, and most importantly helped us with a donation. We rely on your generosity to enable us to continue saving lives at sea.’

The RNLI is an emergency service and a charity and it is reliant on the support of the public and that’s needed now, more than ever. Anyone can help raise money for the RNLI with fundraising events of their own.

More information and ideas can be found on the RNLI’s website – RNLI.org/fundraising.

In addition to open day events, the final total from the fundraising walk initiated by RNLI Fundraising Secretary, Alison Rennie, amounts to around £785 in donations for Oban lifeboat.

‘We’d like to say a big thank you to Alison and everyone who has supported her efforts, too,’ said Leonie.