South Tyneside’s first citizen is throwing his weight behind a lifesaving charity’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
Mayor Coun Richard Porthouse has praised the work of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade for securing a grant of more than £50,000.
The money, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will be used to create a year-long programme of events to mark the milestone year of charity being in existence.
Throughout 2016 a range of activities will take place which organisers hope will raise the profile of the life-saving service.
Coun Porthouse said: “It is with immense pride and a great sense of history and duty that I welcome this latest significant milestone in the history of this lifesaving organisation.
“I am the latest in a long line of mayors of this borough who have been associated with the formation and development of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. Indeed, it was the Mayor of the former borough of South Shields and leading officers of the Town Council and other prominent townspeople of the day who were at the forefront of the campaign which led to the eventual formation of the Brigade in January 1866.”
It is with immense pride that I welcome this latest milestone in the charity’s historyCoun Richard Porthouse - Mayor
He added: “It is fantastic news that the application has been successful and I look forward to being able to play a part in what promises to be an exciting programme of celebrations and activities throughout 2016 to mark this great achievement.”
The “Always Ready for 150 years” HLF project aims to tell the story of the first organisation in the world to save life from shipwreck using the breeches buoy.
The project is being carried out in partnership with Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and supported by heritage officers from South Tyneside Council.
As well as raising the charity’s profile, it aims to enchance displays and presentations of archives and increase the accessibility to collections at the historic watch house on the South Pier in South Shields.
There will also be a programme of visits to schools and community groups as well as a special service of thanksgiving and a exhibition in South Shields Museum.