THERE was quite a spectacle as Father Christmas helped tow a large boat through the streets at the weekend.
Volunteers at Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) towed the large rib through Lee-on-the-Solent with the help of a Land Rover yesterday to raise money to buy new lifejackets.
People stopped in the street to fill up buckets held by members of the crew who braved the rain to walk six miles, stopping off at pubs and landmarks along the way.
Mayor of Gosport Councillor Richard Dickson officially opened the event at 11am and walked the first mile with the group.
And the crew from Gosport fire station – which works closely with the Gafirs – joined the team for the first hour.
Fundraising secretary Joyce Thomas said: ‘Father Christmas came along with us and the children we passed absolutely loved it. They were running up to us, asking to put money in the buckets. We stopped off at lots of places along the way and everywhere we went we received a warm welcome.
‘It was the first time we’ve ever done anything like this and we were not quite sure what to expect but it was great.
‘We’re already planning to do it again next year.’
The route, which took four hours, began at the Daedalus slipway, through Broom Way, past the BP garage and into the Wyvern Pub.
The next stop was the Bun Penny, then on to Lee High Street, the Old Ship pub, Lee-on-the-Solent sailing club and the Kingfisher Caravan Park.
In total, they raised £250 which is enough to pay for a lifejacket and with a bit left over to go towards another one.
GAFIRS provide an emergency lifeboat service in the Solent and Portsmouth Harbour.
It is run entirely by volunteers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in all weathers.
GAFIRS is funded entirely by donations and members are getting ready for the biggest fundraising event of the year – the New Year’s Day swim in the Solent. Almost 300 people take part each year and thousands spectate. If you would like to join in go to gafirs.org.uk.