LIFEBOAT stations in Hoylake, West Kirby and New Brighton have received a share of £11,000 from the mayor's special charity fund.

Councillor Geoffrey Watt pledged to raise funds for the RNLI and other charities during his time in office.

Cllr Watt - who ended his year as mayor on Monday - visited some of the lifeboat stations and met their volunteer crews to find out more about their lifesaving work. He was previously Commodore of Hoylake Sailing Club and a keen sailor himself.

He made three visits in support of RNLI New Brighton during his time in office.

Accompanied by mayoress Ann Watt, he took part in the lifeboat station's open day last July, while the couple also attended the St James’ Church lifeboat thanksgiving service for the station in the following October.

New Year's Day saw Cllr Watt – acting in an unofficial capacity – take charge as referee of the tug-of-war challenge between the RNLI New Brighton lifeboat crew and Mersey Divers, Wallasey.

In August, Cllr Watt swapped his chain of office for the RNLI's distinctive yellow crew kit as he launched on a training exercise with Hoylake RNLI’s volunteers on board their Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood.

As well as the local lifeboat stations, Cllr Watt also dedicated the past year to raising funds for the local Forester's Horn Group of the Riding for the Disabled Association and other Wirral-based charities and voluntary groups.

He presented the donations to representatives from each of the charities at a reception at Wallasey Town Hall last Wednesday.

The event also saw students and staff from Woodchurch High School present a donation of £700 to the RNLI after the school decided to fundraise in support of the Mayor's charity fund.

After the presentations, Hoylake RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Andy Dodd said: "It was an honour to host the Mayor on Hoylake Lifeboat last year and to show him how the fantastic amount he has raised will be used to train our local crews and ensure the RNLI can continue its lifesaving work.

"We're also grateful to everyone at Woodchurch High School for their fundraising efforts."

West Kirby RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Dave Henshaw said: "It takes a great level of commitment for the Mayor to carry out his role and to collect for his charities, including the phenomenal sum of £11,000 for the RNLI.

"The students of Woodchurch High School also deserve a major thanks for their donation.

"I hope they will pop along to any of the three Wirral lifeboat stations to see exactly where their donation will be used."

New Brighton Lifeboat operations manager Ian Thornton said: "We were all delighted to see both the mayor and mayoress at our events this year and appreciate the significant time spent with our volunteers on each occasion.

"The amount raised as a result of Cllr Watt's charity commitment to Wirral RNLI lifeboat stations is brilliant and we are truly grateful.

"We'll be making sure our share is put to good use in our ongoing efforts at saving lives at sea."

Cllr Watt's year as mayor ended on Monday night when he handed over the chains of office to successor, Cllr Tony Smith, in a ceremony at Wallasey Town Hall.