THE family of a Williton student who died in 2009 hope to save lives using a lifeboat named in his memory.
Loves ones and friends of Toby Rundle gathered as they handed Clovelly’s new Atlantic 85 class inshore boat into the North Devon station’s care during a ceremony and service of dedication.
Toby died in 2009, aged 21, as he was starting his final year of studies at Oxford University and a fundraising appeal was set up in his memory.
Parents Chris and Debbie Rundle, with the help of family and friends, raised over £174,000 to-wards the cost of the boat.
Chris, who is the RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer at Minehead lifeboat station, said: “It’s been said many times that the ethos underpinning the lifeboat service is that of the kindness of strangers – typified by the willingness of the men and women of its crews to put their own lives at risk to rescue people they don’t know, have never met and will probably never see again.
“We encountered something of that spirit during the months of fundraising: people who didn’t even know Toby came forward to support the effort because they felt buying a lifeboat was an appropriate way to remember him.”
Just 24 hours after the boat went into service in May, it was launch-ed to an emergency call to rescue a kayak.
Last week, it was officially named by Toby’s sister, Philippa Rundle, after her brother in front of a crowd of hundreds.
Chris added: “It’s a measure of the kind of person Toby was that we have had such generous support from his friends – from Mill-field, from Oxford and from his wider social circle.
“We are delighted the RNLI has decided to station the boat in Clovelly – not merely one of the most iconic seaside villages in Europe, if not the world, but a community with a long and illustrious tradition of saving lives at sea: one which predates the RNLI itself and which we hope this boat will uphold for many years to come.”