Edinburgh College students help out St Abbs Independent Lifeboat after donations box stolen

Staff and students from Edinburgh College’s Engineering department have shown an act of kindness which will help St Abbs Independent Lifeboat to continue receiving much-needed donations.

By Caitlyn Dewar
Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 7:00 am
Kevin Hunter and Terry Healy with the new St Abbs Lifeboat donation box
Kevin Hunter and Terry Healy with the new St Abbs Lifeboat donation box

The independent lifeboat at St Abbs, which depends on donations from the community, visitors and other partners, had its long-term donation box stolen earlier in the year.

Upon hearing this news, engineering lecturer Terry Healy wanted to do something to help and replace the donation box with something more durable and as thief-proof as possible.

Terry, who took the task on as a project using materials no longer required for other college initiatives, enlisted the help of his fabrication and welding students to create a new donation box for the site, along with technician Kevin Hunter.

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The donation box being worked on with sailboat on top

He said: “I have had a long affiliation with St Abbs having completed open water diver training there and many more dives there after qualifying. I wanted to do something to give back to the area and support this life-saving charitable cause.

“We tasked ourselves and our students with upcycling an old electric car charging point into the design agreed with St Abbs.

“Firstly, the students used cutting techniques to add a coin entry slot to the front face of the donation box, as well as manufacturing a weather guard around the coin entry slot to ensure the box remains watertight when it was fixed at its location.

“They then added a rear access door with additional security measures.

The new donation box at the harbour car park

Due to the pandemic, manufacturing of the donation box had to cease and the installation was put on hold until last week. Dalkeith-based McGregor’s Signs contributed two Edinburgh College branded signs to signify the act of kindness carried out by students and staff.

In September 2015 RNLI removed its lifeboat service from the Borders village ending a 104-year association with the area.

Local people raised more than £300,000 for the independent lifeboat to be put in place which was helped by a generous donation from teacake firm boss Sir Boyd Tunnock, who gave the campaign £250,000.

The St Abbs lifeboat, the “Thomas Tunnock”, was named in honour of the Lanarkshire company’s founder and was officially launched on September 17, 2016.

In action, the 'Thoms Tunnock'

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