A South Tyneside-based marine equipment company has answered the distress call of a nautical charity.
Solar Solve Marine has helped out with a plea from the North East Maritime Trust (NEMT) which restores traditional boats and rebuilds heritage skills.
John Lightfoot MBE, chairman of the company, discovered the slipway gates at the Trust's base in Wapping Street, South Shields, had been damaged beyond repair after severe weather.
Also the slipway roller shutter door was broken, as well and the money to carry out replacement work wasn't available due to the trust running on volunteers and donations.
Mr Lightfoot, whose company makes roller sunscreens to protect ships’ personnel from solar heat, glare and UV light, said: “As a marine engineer by profession, and someone who still works in the marine industry, I decided that my company should help the NEMT by donating the money required for the new gates and a roller shutter door.
“The NEMT is a local charity just down the road from my factory in South Shields, which educates the public in the UK’s maritime heritage and encourages and facilitates the conservation, restoration and public display of historic vessels and maritime craft and artefacts. A very worthwhile cause.”
Jerry Dudman, secretary for the NEMT, is delighted with the repair works which have been carried out and now hopes more new members may sign up.
The team are currently restoring the former Tynemouth lifeboat the ‘Henry Frederick Swan’ which is over 100 years old.
He said: “Membership of the trust is open to anyone interested in the aims of the trust for a small annual subscription.
“As well as receiving a quarterly newsletter, membership allows people to work with the NEMT on projects and be involved in numerous social events and outings during the year. Some members have particular maritime skills or experience, but this isn’t essential, and anyone concerned with the heritage of the North East is most welcome to become a member.
“The NEMT is located in Wapping Street and we are in the last few months of a long-term restoration project on the ‘Henry Frederick Swan’ which is over 100 years old.
“We also have several other projects in the pipeline.”
Further information is available on the NEMT website at www.nemaritimetrust.co.uk