THE annual RNLI fundraising effort gets under way in earnest this month when volunteers roll up their sleeves and get scrubbing local cars.
It costs more than £300,000 a year to run Hastings Lifeboat Station and every single penny comes from donations.
The local life-saving team currently has 30 volunteers – as well as the team of helpers who run the station’s gift shop – and much of the money goes in training costs.
Another large chunk is spent on equipment and maintaining the two lifeboats housed on The Stade - a D-Class inshore boat and the much larger 40 foot all-weather Mersey Class.
Records show lifeboat rescues off the shore of Hastings dating back as far as 1830 and as well as saving lives locally for nearly 200 years, crews also helped in the evacuation of British forces from Dunkirk in 1940.
More recently the crews helped tackle the blaze on Hastings Pier and continue to help stricken boats and struggling swimmers.
Later this month sees the charity’s SOS fundraising day (Sunday, January 30) and here in Hastings the team will be charging people just £5 for a lifeboat style car wash.
Peter Adams, lifeboat operations manager, said he hoped local people would show their support.
He said: “We’re extremely proud of the way our boats gleam. It takes a lot of wax and elbow grease to make them shine.
“Seeing as we get so much practice we thought it would be a good idea to make some of Hastings cars look as shiny as our lifeboat.
“We did the same thing last year and it proved to be really popular, so I would suggest you turn up early if you’re looking for the best hand car wash in town.”
The car wash will run from 10am until 2pm and people are advised to get there early.
The RNLI shop and viewing gallery at the lifeboat station will be also be open.