Cash seized from criminals boosts fund in memory of brave lifeboatman


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A special fund to commemorate a brave lifeboatman tragically killed in a road accident has been boosted by a major grant from a special fund of cash seized from criminals.

The Craig Steadman Lifeboat Fund which was launched by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to raise £24,000 to pay for a new inshore lifeboat at Barmouth, has been awarded a £2,500 grant.

The Lifeboat will named in memory of Craig, a dedicated Holyhead lifeboatman who died in a road traffic accident on the A55 near Llanfairpwll last August.

The money was jointly presented by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones and Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard.

The Your Community, Your Choice initiative is also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).

Much of the money was recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner.

It is one of 15 grants totalling over £40,000 given to support schemes by community organisations with an online vote deciding the successful applicants and almost 10,000 votes cast.

Crew member Martin Sampson, who represented the appeal at the presentation ceremony, said: “Barmouth Lifeboat has 30 volunteers, made up of local people of all ages.

“Last summer we suffered the tragic loss of one of our crew members, Craig, in a motorcycle collision.

“He had been a lifeboat volunteer since a teenager and was a courageous young man. He was involved in numerous rescues off the North Wales coast, and personally saved lives at sea.

“The current D-Class inshore lifeboat is nearing the end of its operational life and The Craig Steadman will replace it.

“We’re delighted to receive the funding from Your Community Your Choice which is the largest single donation we’ve had so far.”

The other Gwynedd winners were a scheme by Bangor Gymnastics Club to help teenage boys in Bangor outrun trouble by learning Parkour or free running which received £2,490, and a special award of £1,270 which went to the Maesgeirchen Environmental and Raised Beds Project.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, who jointly presented the awards with Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard, said: “I was delighted when I took office this year that I was able to continue the good work of the Your Community, Your Choice fund and support community projects across North Wales.

“This unique fund allows our communities to decide which projects should get financial support, and I would like to thank all of this year applicants who submitted innovative and interesting projects, and for the public for taking part in the decision-making through our on-line voting system.

“This year 29 projects went forward to the public vote and almost 10,000 votes were cast and that response demonstrated to me that communities can work together to make our public places safer.

“Community groups such as yours are vital to the citizens of north Wales and in helping to ensure that our communities continue to be some of the safest places to live, work and visit in the UK.”

Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: “The funding which you have received has been made available by the Police and Crime Commissioner and through assets seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

“This is a particularly vital message as, through the professionalism of North Wales Police Officers and with the support of the Courts, we are able to hit the criminals where it hurts – in their pockets.

“Operation Scorpion aims to target all types of serious crime and to date it has recovered £1.3m worth of cash and assets and almost £300,000 worth of illegal drugs and ensured that 87 criminals are spending over 350 years behind bars.

“Money confiscated from these criminals is now helping to support communities such as yours.

“Every day our work involves working closely with communities and organisations across the whole of North Wales, and it is vital that these strong ties and links continue so that we can continue to make North Wales a safer place.”

PACT chairman David Williams added: “We are delighted that we can assist in the administration of this fund.

“I think the breadth of our grant giving right across North Wales, from the tip of the west to the furthest part of the east, really sends a strong message to communities to access this money, it’s there for them.

“Very appropriately, one of the conditions is that the people who apply for this money have to be doing something that combats anti-social behaviour or addresses crime and disorder in some way.

“The aims Your Community, Your Choice scheme also coincide with the objectives of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan so it creates a virtuous circle.”

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