THE appeal for a new £52,000 lifeboat for Penarth has officially hit its target nearly a year before it is due to arrive.


The RNLI confirmed this week that they had officially closed the appeal having reached their aim in just nine months.


The appeal was launched in July 2016 and local Olympic sailor Hannah Mills helped open it at the station just before she headed out to Rio where she won gold.


Since launching the appeal in July 2016 the RNLI volunteers have been touched by the overwhelming support shown to them by their local community.


Penarth volunteers were given the challenge of raising £52,000 last summer to fund their new D-class inshore lifeboat to replace the Connie Daines.


The fundraising appeal quickly went from strength to strength thanks to the community’s support and the Penarth Times decided to launch an official campaign to support it.


Each week we featured profiles of crew members, those who had been rescued by the team and also the various fundraising activities that were taking place to raise money for the appeal.


Local schools, businesses and individuals all got involved and came up with ideas to raise the money.


One of the main events saw £11,000 raised through a charity dinner at which Wales and Lions rugby player Sam Warburton was the guest.


A fishing competition raised £2,000 for the appeal whilst Evenlode Primary and Fairfield Primary held special fundraising days to raise money.


The Penarth Times also attended the RNLI’s open day in which visitors could learn more about the station and donate towards the appeal.


Jason Dunlop, Penarth RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “As a crew, we have been overwhelmed by the level of support that’s been shown to Penarth RNLI throughout the appeal by our local community.


“We’re also aware of many more events that have already been arranged and are yet to take place over the following months.


“As a charity every penny counts and that helps us at Penarth RNLI to save lives at sea.”


Editor of the Penarth Times Nicole Garnon said she was delighted that the appeal had reached its target.


She said: “We decided to support this appeal because we know what a vital service the RNLI provide – day in and day out.


“Also we had no doubt that the people of Penarth would rise to the occasion and help raise the money needed.


“And as regular readers will know so many people have done their bit to help raise the £52,000.


“This is great news for the RNLI but also great news for Penarth and we are happy to have played a part in it.”


RNLI community fundraising manager Jen Abell thanked the people of Penarth for their support.


She said: “The support Penarth RNLI has received from their local community has been phenomenal.


“What’s really struck me is that all-ages of the community joined together to support the appeal.”


She added: “It’s inspiring the number of schools that organised a fundraising event to help their local crew – let’s hope that support will develop over time as the pupils look into becoming future crew and volunteers,


“Even though the lifeboat appeal has now closed, Penarth RNLI – like all lifeboat stations across the coast – needs the continuous support of their local community to save lives at sea.”


It is hoped the new D-class boat will arrive in February 2018.


For more information on supporting the RNLI in Penarth, contact the station or visit the RNLI website.