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'Volunteer Sue' is up for auction to help Tobermory RNLI save lives at sea

Lifeboats News Release

A beautiful ‘Volunteer Sue’ quilt is up for auction courtesy of local Tobermory crafter, Kathryn Campbell.

RNLI/Sam Jones

Volunteer Sue up for auction at Tobermory RNLI

The quilt has been donated to Tobermory RNLI’s Fundraising Branch to help raise funds to save lives at sea.

Kathryn explained: ‘In December of 2017 the members of my quilting group on Facebook (UK Quilters United) were challenged to produce a wall hanging depicting “Sunbonnet Sue - Out of the Box”. Sunbonnet Sue along with her friend Fisherman Fred were twee little characters devised in the 1800s that appeared in illustrated anecdotes to teach children about everyday life. The characters are still known for their large hats which take away the problem of showing their faces. Living in Tobermory, so close to the Lifeboat Station, I am very aware of the amazing service all the volunteers provide and so, my idea (with some prompting from my husband) was born. Sue was to be a volunteer too! But not only that, I would offer up my endeavour for auction to help to raise some funds for the local lifeboat station’.

Dr Sam Jones, Tobermory RNLI's Lifeboat Operations Manager said: 'We're very grateful to Kathryn for donating this beautiful quilt to our fundraisers. It is very apt as since the station re-opened in 1990, there has always been at least one woman on the crew.'

The auction will run until Lifeboat Day on Sunday 12 August 2018. Volunteer Sue will be there on the day and bids will be accepted there. Online bids are now welcome via Tobermory RNLI’s Fundraising Branch’s Facebook page through private message (visit

Notes to editors

Tobermory RNLI Fundraising Branch's Facebook page can be found at

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland