GENEROUS pupils handed over more than £6,900 to Southend’s RNLI lifeboat station following a huge fundraising drive.

Pupils from St Michael’s School, in Leigh, presented Southend RNLI with £6,952, which will help to revamp the lifeboat station.

Accepting the giant cheque at a special presentation in the school hall, in Hadleigh Road, Southend RNLI Chairman James Mackie said: “I am sincerely moved by the amount of money raised by St Michael’s School. I have beenamember of Southend RNLI for 30 years and schools have supported us, but £6,952 is a fantastic sum.”

Southend RNLI launched a £50,000 appeal last year to develop and modify the boathouse station to accommodate a larger, rigid, inflatable boat, the Atlantic 85, and St Michael’s School took up the challenge.

Headteacher Steve Tompkins said: “We knew about the Southend RNLI’s £50,000 Appeal for necessary developments to the new lifeboat station, so we set ourselves a target to raise £5,000 this year.

“We’ve watched the total increase with all the fundraising and sponsored events, which have involved every class in the school.”

St Michael’s School choir paid tribute to Leigh’s Fishwives Choir in song at the cheque presentation during their pirate day.

Lorraine Kipps who co-ordinated the fundraising drive said the day helped round off a school year of fundraising activities: She said: “Events included sponsored walks, a sandcastle competition, fun football, a ‘fiver challenge’, a sponsored silence, a seaside themed art auction and a Great British Bake Off, along with visits to the lifeboat station.”

Crews at the lifeboat station answered 237 calls last year.

Rescues include swimmers in difficulty, ship’s crews who in an emergency need hospitalisation, and windsurfers who got stuck on the mud.