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Burley benefactor's legacy helps open new RNLI station
A lifeboat station was officially opened on Saturday thanks to a legacy from a millionaire benefactor from Burley-in-Wharfedale.
The £700,000 station in Blyth, Northumberland, replaces a 1920s facility, with most of the cash coming from wealthy widow Daphne Sharpe, who left a total of £4 million when she died aged 79 in 2003.
Mrs Sharpe, formerly of Southfield Road, Burley-in-Wharfedale, left varying amounts to organisations and individuals, including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
She was a long-time supporter of the RNLI and specified that money left to the charity in her will should be used to support the lifeboat service on the north-east coast.
The opening of the new station was attended by around 100 RNLI volunteers and guests.
The ceremony included a service of dedication led by Father Philip Quinn.
John Scott, Blyth RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said it was a big day for everyone involved with the RNLI in Blyth and he was especially pleased to publicly acknowledge the generosity of Mrs Sharpe whose legacy helped fund the new station.
“Without donations and the support of people like Mrs Sharpe, RNLI crews just wouldn’t be able to carry on our life-saving service,” he said.
“Our charity depends on donations and Saturday was an opportunity for us to celebrate the continued support we receive, as well as to pay tribute to those who help us by donating not just their money but also their time and expertise to saving lives at sea.”
Mrs Sharpe and her husband Donald moved to Burley around 1989 after selling up their business, Sharpes Card.
The couple, who did not have any children, made annual donations to the community council in Burley and it was left £10,000 in Mr Sharpe’s will when he died in 1994.
Unknown to many in the village, Mrs Sharpe continued to make an annual gift of £3,000 to Burley and after her death she left more than £75,000 to benefit the village.