AN ANNIVERSARY is traditionally a time for friends to give gifts to the happy couple.
But after 50 years of wedded bliss Dave and Marion Westlake decided they had everything they ever needed.
So, in a touching gesture, they decided to ask guests at their golden wedding anniversary party to donate to the RNLI instead of buying them a present.
Their grandsons James, eight, and Ross, 11, carried round yellow RNLI wellies at the party to collect donations.
The whip-round collected a hefty £350 for Hayling RNLI.
Mrs Westlake, 70, who lives most of the year at the couple’s caravan at Fishery Creek on Hayling, said: ‘It’s such a good cause.
‘We have got enough toasters, enough tea sets.
‘After 50 years, you shouldn’t really want anything.
‘There’s nothing we really need, so it’s nice to help somebody else.’
The couple, whose son-in-law Andrew Ferguson is a senior helmsman for Hayling RNLI, have also helped to raise hundreds more for the service this year.
Sadly Mr Westlake’s brother, Robert Westlake, from Hayling Island, died last month at the age of 87.
He was in the Royal Navy as a young man and was always close to the sea.
His daughter Jackie Walsh decided that rather than flowers and tributes at her father’s funeral, they too would ask for donations to the RNLI.
This has raised a further £275 for the lifeboat crew.
The family were also closely involved in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Fishery Creek – where a collection for the RNLI raised £658.
Mr Westlake, 76, originally from Hounslow, London, said: ‘The RNLI is a totally voluntary organisation that deserves support.
‘The volunteer crews put their lives at risk to save others, and my family and I want to do all we can to help them succeed in saving lives.’
Mr Ferguson, 38, who works for H+S Aviation in Hilsea, said: ‘They are so enthusiastic about lifeboats and what I am doing. It’s phenomenal.
‘They follow it more than I do!’
Mrs Westlake laughed: ‘When I go for a paddle, they will be there to rescue me!’