Kath Wilson, grandson Geoff and the Southport Lifeboat crew at the opening of the Southport Lifeboat Station. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

The brand new Southport Lifeboat Station has been dedicated to legendary local fundraiser Kath Wilson – live on air in a broadcast to millions of people on ITV Granada News. 

The emotional moment took place last night, as ITV reporter Grimes and her camera crew were on site to highlight the stunning new facility. 

The base has opened at a cost of £1.4million after decades of fundraising by Kath and by many other volunteers and supporters of Southport Lifeboat. 

Kath founded the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust, the charity which operates Southport Lifeboat, in 1987, after her son, Geoff, died off the coast of Southport. 

He was just 18 years old, and Kath believed his life may have been saved had a lifeboat been available close by. 

At the time, the nearest RNLI bases were many miles away at Lytham St Annes to the north and in Wirral to the south. Southport has been without an RNLI base ever since the charity abandoned the town in 1925. 

Kath vowed that no other mother, no other family, would have to go through the pain that she had borne. 

She began fundraising straight away, with the first Southport Lifeboat arriving within just 18 months. 

In 2005, she started the Southport Lifeboat charity shop on Everton Road in Birkdale in Southport which has been helping towards raising many hundreds of thousands of pounds to pay for the new Lifeboat Station ever since. 

Last night, Southport Lifeboat crew member Keith Porter announced live on ITV Granada News that the new Station was being dedicated to Kath because of her incredible fundraising and campaigning efforts over so many years. 

Kath was accompanied on screen by her grandson, Geoff, and by Patrick Vaccaro, who was with Kath’s son when the tragedy happened. 

Kath said: “My one ambition was to build this Southport Lifeboat House, and finally it’s here.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I was when I went past and saw it all set up. 

“I just sat in the parking bay and cried. 

“Hopefully no-one else will lose their life.” 

Kath Wilson and Patrick Vaccaro at the opening of the new Southport Lifeboat Station in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

Kath Wilson and Patrick Vaccaro at the opening of the new Southport Lifeboat Station in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

Alan Porter, Chairman of the board of Trustee Directors at the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust said: “We’ve had some hard times over the past 30 or so years, but we’ve got there. This building is for the people of Southport. It’s for everyone who has donated, bought something in the shop, played Lifeboat Lotto, volunteered for the charity or helped in any way, shape or form.

“‘We would like to thank the people of Southport, the surrounding areas, and further afield for their support, without whom this fabulous achievement would not be possible.”

It costs £60,000 to keep Southport Lifeboat functioning all year round. That is no mean task during ordinary times, let alone the extraordinary times we currently find ourselves in.

Southport Lifeboat is funded entirely through public donations, and is independent of the RNLI.

There are other ways you can help the charity continue to save lives, including joining Lifeboat Lotto or online donations.

For more details about the emergency service, or if you would like to donate, please visit their website:

http://www.southport-lifeboat.co.uk/

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

5 Comments
  1. Thank you ever so for you blog article. Much obliged.

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