Generous donation brings lifeboat back to life

Following a generous donation from confectionery guru Boyd Tunnock, the St Abbs lifeboat has once again returned to the seas around Berwickshire.

How did you hear about the St Abbs lifeboat appeal?

A letter came to the factory asking me for a donation and I thought it was such a good cause I gave them £10,000. After calling to thank me I decided to donate the full £250,000 for the boat. I have given a lot of donations before but this is something that people have been particularly complimentary about because it is such an important service.

Why do you feel it is so important for this community to have a lifeboat service?

The Berwickshire coastline is rugged and wild and a popular spot for divers because of all the shipwrecks, so it is vital that there is a boat there for emergencies. St Abbs has had a lifeboat for the last 112 years, but the RNLI closed the station at the beginning of the year. I am a keen sailor myself so it is something I felt strongly about. I’ve got great respect for the sea – you can’t take any risks.

Have you been for a ride on the boat yet?

Yes, it goes really fast and is very bumpy. You have to hold on tight, which is not easy when you are holding onto a giant teacake! The boat has been named Thomas Tunnock, which was the name of my grandfather and brother – they would have been absolutely delighted by that.

When will the lifeboat be in service?
The lifeboat was launched on 17 September from St Abbs harbour and is now in service. I was presented with a glass plate, engraved with the name of the boat. We will make sure the crew have a steady supply of caramel wafers and snowballs to keep them going.

Has the new boat made any rescues yet?

The boys who crew the rescue boat tell me they had a rescue only last week, a diver came up too quick and had to be airlifted to Aberdeen. That just shows how important this boat is.

Is it important for you to be able to contribute to projects such as this?

Yes. I am very fortunate to be in a position where I can help freely.

  • The feature was originally published in 2016.