SIDMOUTH Lifeboat’s fundraising mission bid to net it an ‘essential’ new £15,200 back-up vessel is picking up pace.

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Crew and their dedicated support team have been handed a massive boost through a £7,000 pledge from the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund.

And a grand draw, organised with Sidmouth Rotary Club, on Tuesday scored another £3,021.

A hardy group of crew members will get on their bikes and embark on a 2,500-mile cycle challenge around the UK to boost the bid further.

They will pedal around Britain and plan to stop at around 40 independent lifeboat stations.

The cyclists have garnered the name ‘Sidmouth Lifeboat On BikeS’ – or SLOBS - and forged a strong partnership with the rotary club selling draw tickets.

The lifeboat’s Theo Burgess said a new back-up boat is ‘essential to the day-to-day operations of the service’ and will help in providing more cover and a reliable training vessel.

He added: “Through this partnership the team has been able to secure accommodation on their epic venture for all but three nights, which is being organised by rotary clubs in the towns that they will visit.

“The partnership has also enabled the SLOBS team to secure the day sponsors they need from businesses in the town. The whole team is indebted to these companies.”

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