York Rescue Boat will soon have a brand new lifeboat paid for by funds raised in memory of a man who died in the river in York
It will be called the ‘Spirit of Sonny’
On 13th April 2019 Sonny Ferry died in the River Foss, after a night out in the city.
Following two days of searching alongside North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, the York Rescue Boat crew eventually located his body near Blue Bridge.
The following week Kate and Steve Ferry, Sonny’s parents, met with some of the team who took part in the search to thank them and pledged to raise £45k for a replacement lifeboat.
The ‘Sunshine Campaign’ was created, and fundraising started in earnest.
The total amount raised so far stands at £34,000 but the family still want to reach their full fundraising target of £45k.
However, with the money they already have and an offer of assistance from Acaster Marine in York and Highfield UK, York Rescue Boat can now place an order for a new lifeboat.
Any extra funds raised will go towards the additional equipment required to get the boat fully kitted out and ready for service in York.
They expect the new boat to be delivered by the end of the year when it will go operational once volunteers have undergone the necessary conversion training.
Dave Horn, Senior Operations Manager for the charity said
“At the start of 2019 we had drawn up some initial designs and costings for a new boat but getting the required funding to purchase one seemed to be just a pipe dream.
“To have Kate and Steve offer to raise that amount of money for us, so soon after the death of their son, was a surprise to the team.
“However, after such a great start to their fundraising achievements and then the pandemic hitting in early 2020 and continuing into 2021 we had shelved all hope of getting our new boat ordered in the near future.
“The fantastic drive and determination shown by Kate, Steve, their family, friends and everyone else who have donated to this campaign have made this now possible.
“In memory of their son the new boat is going to be named ‘Spirit of Sonny’ ”
The new lifeboat is being built by Highfield and is based on their Patrol 660 hull but with bespoke modifications to give us the working platform required during patrols, searches and rescues.
The design will provide better seating for the crew, a working area capable of taking a basket stretcher, improved sonar, radio and electronics suite, greater towing capability and a more reliable and environmentally friendly engine.
Dave Horn says: “Our current boat is nearly 15 years old and is coming to the end of its operational life, although it will still be used by the charity as a crew training boat.”