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5p pots scheme raises £13k for RNLI in Walmer

A 5p pot initiative is thought to be one of Walmer RNLI's most successful fundraising schemes in its history.

Betty's Pots asks businesses and households to collect any spare silver coins in small jam jars, with each pot holding around £2.

Co-ordinators Dawn Whitbread and Ann Austin
Co-ordinators Dawn Whitbread and Ann Austin

The simple yet effective idea has been adopted by so many over the past year, it has helped raise an incredible £13,000 extra towards saving lives at sea.

Between them, co-ordinators Dawn Whitbread and Ann Austin have arranged for 32 businesses, establishments and a school in the Walmer and Deal area to accept and display the pots.

They visit them every other week to collect the donations and replenish the pots.

Mrs Whitbread said: "It's been so successful, one of our best fundraisers.

"We're really pleased at the way it's taken off.

Thirty-two businesses in Deal and Walmer have joined the Betty's Pots scheme. Pictures: Chris Winslade and David Whitbread
Thirty-two businesses in Deal and Walmer have joined the Betty's Pots scheme. Pictures: Chris Winslade and David Whitbread

"We just think people like the idea. It's not always 5ps, we get all sorts of change but it all helps."

The nationwide scheme originated from the Hertford Branch of the RNLI and was named after its honorary treasurer, Betty Frith.

Walmer RNLI rolled it out from February 15 last year and others in east Kent, including Dover and Whitstable, then followed.

The first location to trial the idea was the Coastguard Bar and Restaurant in St Margaret's Bay before more came on board including The Goose on the Green, 81 Beach Street, The King's Head, Dunkerleys, The Zetland Arms in Kingsdown, and The Bell in Sandwich.

Within eight weeks, £1,600 in donations had been collected.

Mrs Whitbread added: "We would like to thank everyone who has helped us for their continuing support, from those who have collected, washed and donated the pots, individuals who have taken and returned pots to the lifeboat station, businesses which have acted as collection points around town and those who continue to display them.

"We're so chuffed at the way it's taken off..."

"Without them we couldn’t have hoped to raise anywhere near this amount of money for the Institution.

"We hope to extend the scheme over the course of this year and invite other businesses to take part in 2020."

The money raised enables lifeboat crews to be on call 24/7, fully equipped and trained to deal with whatever situation arises.

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