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£5000 Jackpot Turns The Tide For Nicola

Care home worker, Nicola Hughes has donated hundreds of pounds to lifeboat volunteers for more than 12 years – but now the tide’s turned and she’s scooped a fabulous £5000 jackpot from a fund raising lifeboat lottery. Nicola is the latest lucky winner of Southport’s Lifeboat Lotto – which raises desperately needed cash for the Southport Offhore Rescue Trust volunteers.

Nicola, 44, who lives in Fir Street, Southport, began supporting the lifeboats after her partner, Ian Thornton, a keen sea angler, was killed in a car accident 12 years ago.

She says: “At his funeral, he had wished for mourners to give to lifeboat charities and we raised a substantial amount.
“Ian was very involved with the sea – and he knew what a debt all coastal communities owe to the dedicated volunteers who staff the lifeboats. It seemed a very fitting memorial to him. My support for the lifeboats went on from there and I have taken part in numerous fund raising efforts over the years – especially Lifeboat Lotto. This win is fantastic. It means I will be able to give my son and daughter the dream visit to Disneyland Paris they have always wanted. And I will also be able to afford some essential repairs around the house. It is great to get some good news completely out of the blue. And of course, I will still continue to support Lifeboat Lotto.”

The Southport Lifeboat is totally independent and gets no funding from the RNLI. It is totally reliant on donations from local people and Lifeboat Lotto is an essential part of the trust’s fund raising efforts.

Nick Porter, who is a coxswain with the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust said: “Congratulations to Nicola. Lifeboat Lotto is a huge success for all concerned. “It has helped us to renew two engines for our main rescue boat – at a cost of £20,000 and it is also contributing towards our planned new boathouse.”


The crews’ training ensures that the boat and equipment are always available for emergency situations. The crew are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the boathouse, boats, launch vehicle, and the two quad ATV’s used for beach rescues.

Due to the corrosive nature of saltwater, maintenance can be very time consuming. Typically after each launch, the crew can spend between 1 and 2 hours washing down the boat and vehicles. The latest lifeboat, Heather White is fitted with Radar, GPS, and a Chart plotter. Carrying a crew of 4, the twin 150 hp outboards give a maximum speed of 50+ mph and a range of 150+ miles.

The lifeboat is stationed in the old lifeboat house which was built over 130 years ago, it has no toilet or sink. These facilities are in desperate need of modernisation, during the summer months, the boathouse is ok, however during the winter months it can be a bleak place for the crew to undertake their duties.

The volunteers are at present investigating the possibility of relocating to a new lifeboat house nearer to the sea, however this will require substantial funds to be raised.


From left  Keith Porter - Senior Coxswain,  Centre, Nicola Hughes with children Kane,14, and Emily, nine  and far right is Phil Wade, lifeboat lotto canvasser and Support Crew.