Rare ride raises funds for Staithes RNLI

Ian Hart with the collection box model
Ian Hart with the collection box model

Thrill-seeking youngsters are helping raise funds for the RNLI in Staithes and Runswick while getting a taste of what it’s like to be out at sea.

A rare children’s lifeboat ride, dating back to the 1970s and believed to be one of only three in the country, has been saved from shipwreck and painstakingly restored by a regular visitor to the village.

Two years ago, deputy launch authority, Sean Baxter found the model boat – which simulates the motion of a lifeboat out at sea riding the waves – abandoned near the boathouse.

Ian Hart, a maritime modeller, set about bringing the boat back to life. Despite it probably being easier to build a new one from scratch he converted it from mechanical to electrical, put it on a new base and allowing for inflation, changed the money slot from a half crown to a 50 pence piece.

In the first fortnight of being in situ it has raised more than £200 from winter visitors.

Two years ago Ian made a model of a Rother class lifeboat which made £400 at auction.

Mr Baxter said: “We’re enormously grateful. Quite apart from the money these lifeboats are raising , they are an invaluable reminder of tradition that means so much to the RNLI.

“And you can’t put a price on the time that Ian has devoted to restoring these precious boats.”