Southport Lifeboat founder Kath Wilson has won the main Pride Of Sefton Award, sponsored by The Grand in Southport, at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards.
The tireless campaigner was given a standing ovation and was cheered loudly as her name was read out and she was invited onto the stage at The Grand in Southport to celebrate all she has achieved.
Kath Wilson has built a lasting monument to what one mother’s love can achieve.
It’s the brand new Southport Lifeboat Station that stands on Marine Drive in Southport, looking out to sea, and saving lives along the Sefton coastline 365 days a year thanks to the Southport Lifeboat volunteers.
A former patch of wasteland was transformed into this incredible facility thanks to £1.4 million with every penny raised through events, donations and through the Southport Lifeboat charity shop which Kath founded and runs on Everton Road in Birkdale.
Kath has spent the past 35 years fundraising to start, and then run an independent lifeboat service in Southport.
It followed the tragic death of her beloved son, Geoff Clements, in 1987 off the Sefton coast.
Along the way, Kath has raised money to help pay for the vital life saving equipment, lifeboats and training for the lifeboat crew who are all unpaid volunteers.
Southport Lifeboat has helped in the rescue of hundreds of people over the past 35 years and many families owe the safety of their loved ones to Kath.
Speaking at the Pride Of Sefton Awards, Kath Wilson said:
“I wanted the intention that no-one would lose their life in Southport seeing as we didn’t have a lifeboat here.
“I must be honest – it’s not down to me, it’s down to everybody in Southport.
“The lifeboat belongs to Southport.
“The volunteers, the crew, everybody involved is absolutely wonderful. Thank you all.
“They do so through determination but not only that, when they go out on a call, they are leaving behind their families, their wives, their children, to go out and rescue other people.”
A Southport Lifeboat spokesperson said:
“A huge congratulations to our very own Kath Wilson, who was crowned the winner of the 2023 Pride of Sefton awards!
“Kath set up the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust following the loss of her son, Geoff Clements, off the Sefton coast in 1987.
“Since then, she has fundraised continuously to ensure our crew has the best equipment, training and facilities in order to save lives at sea.
“Congratulations Kath, and of course to all the other winners and nominees!”
Also shortlisted for the main Pride Of Sefton Award was Dr Karen Groves MBE, who founded Queenscourt Hospice 30 years ago. She recently announced her retirement as the Medical and Education Director, as the Dr Karen Groves Legacy Development Fund in her honour.
David and Ann Cobham recently celebrated their 80th birthdays but can still be found, on most days and in most weather, maintaining the Botanic Gardens in Churchtown. They have led a team of volunteers there for the past 13 years, planting many thousands of flowers, keeping the park spotless for families to enjoy, and organising regular community events.
The Pride Of Sefton Awards were organised by Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group and by Stand Up For Southport, with support from In Demand Radio.
VIP guests included Mayor of Sefton Cllr Clare Carragher, while the night was hosted by In Demand Radio presenter Claire Simmo and TV presenter Fraser Dainton.
Entertainment was provided by Kelly Bond and Soul Jam.
Money was raised for the Steve Prescott Foundation and the ICU Steps charity, a cause close to Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group Chairman Andrew Mikhail after his long battle in intensive care in hospital against Covid-19 during the pandemic.