The Erdington fundraising Branch was formed on the 8th October 1973 by Mrs Jessie Lewis, Mrs Eileen Paginton and 8 others. The first Branch Chairperson was Jessie Lewis.
Over the years many of the Branch members have received awards from the RNLI in recognition of their work.
In 1998 Eileen Paginton was made the first ( and only) Branch President. When she passed away the Committee made the decision to retire the position in her honour.
The Branch was heavily involved in the fundraising campaign in 1995/96 to fund the Trent Class lifeboat Forward Birmingham which until recently was based at Exmouth, only leaving when the sea conditions made her unsuitable for launching in certain conditions. She was temporarily replaced by a Mersey class lifeboat but Exmouth will shortly be receiving their state of the art Shannon class lifeboat 13-03.
Another event synonymous with Erdington Branch was the RNLI shop at the Birmingham Boat Show which the Committee ran for many years until the show ended recently due to competing events.
Chris Clifford is still serving as the Souvenir Secretary and his front room still groans under the weight of souvenirs. His wife Jacky is the Branch Chair.
The Branch has a special relationship with Thornton School in Washwood Heath. Most years a visit has been arranged in conjunction with either the RNLI Education team or the Lifeguards during which the souvenir stall is emptied by the generous pupils and staff. Although this is one of the biggest primary schools in Birmingham its pupils are a model of politeness and friendliness and are a credit to the staff.
The current Committee consists of
Jacky Clifford – Chair
Chris Clifford – Souvenirs
Rodger Withers – press and events
Alan Laight – Treasurer
Eileen Laight- Assistant Treasurer