A life-saving charity has been awarded more than £50,000 to help celebrate 150 years of sea rescues.
The South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade will mark the landmark anniversary next year with a range of events and activities.
The “Always Ready for 150 years” project aims to raise awareness of the charity and the story behind the first organisation in the world to save a life from a shipwreck using the breeches buoy rescue tequnique – in which a rope is fired to a striken vessel using a rocket.
The £50,500 has been granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Tom Fennelly, honorary secretary of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, said: ”We are absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has acknowledged the significance and importance of our 150th anniversary.
“This will allow the Always Ready story to reach many thousands of local people and visitors throughout 2016, and will help to secure and sustain our future.”
We are absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has acknowledged the significance and importance of our 150th anniversary.Tom Fennelly
The cash, supported by money raised by members and volunteers and a contribution from the brigade, will enable the charity to host a range of events, demonstrations, open days, talks as well as carry out a programme of educational visits to school and community groups.
Demonstrations will include re-enactments of the meeting which led to the formation of the brigade, the first-ever drill, and the first occasion when a breeches rescue was used to rescue lives from a shipwreck.
Members will work alongside Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and heritage officers from South Tyneside Council.
Mr Fennelly said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Tyne & Wear Museums & Archives and to have the support of South Tyneside Council, Port of Tyne, The Customs House and South Tyneside Council for Voluntary Services, to deliver an exciting programme of events.”
Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: “South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade is intrinsically linked with the history of life and work on the North East coast. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project will build on the organisation’s strong tradition of voluntary service by making volunteers a central part of telling its story, as well as enhancing the regeneration of South Tyneside’s seafront.”