New lifeboat for York Rescue Boat “Spirit of Sonny”

On 13th April 2019, Sonny Ferry drowned in the River Foss, York after a night out. After 2 days of searching alongside North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, our lifeboat boat crew eventually located the body of Sonny in the vicinity of Blue Bridge. The following week Kate and Steve Ferry, Sonny’s parents, met with some of the team members who took part in the search to thank them and pledged to raise £45k for a replacement lifeboat. The ‘Sunshine Campaign’ was created, and fundraising started in earnest.

The total amount raised so far stands at £34,000 but the family still want to reach their full fundraising target of £45k but with the money already raised, and an offer of assistance from Acaster Marine in York and Highfield UK we have now been able to order a new lifeboat.

Any extra funds raised will go towards the additional equipment required to get the boat fully kitted out and ready for service in York. We expect the new boat to be delivered by the end of the year when it will go operational once our volunteers have undergone the necessary conversion training.



“At the start of 2019 we had drawn up some initial designs and costings for a new boat but getting the required funding to purchase one seemed to be just a pipe dream. To have Kate and Steve offer to raise that amount of money for us, so soon after the death of their son, was a large shock to the team. However, after such a great start to their fundraising achievements and then the pandemic hitting in early 2020 and continuing into 2021 we had shelved all hope of getting our new boat ordered in the near future. The fantastic drive and determination shown by Kate, Steve, their family, friends and everyone else who have donated to this campaign have made this now possible. Therefore in memory of the death of Sonny the new boat is going to be named ‘Spirit of Sonny’ "

- Dave Horn Senior Operations Manager


The new lifeboat is being built by Highfield and is based on their Patrol 660 hull but with bespoke modifications to give us the working platform that we require during patrols, searches and rescues. The design will provide better seating for the crew, a working area capable of taking a basket stretcher, improved sonar, radio and electronics suite, greater towing capability and a more reliable and environmentally friendly engine.

Our current boat is nearly 15 years old and is coming to the end of its operational life, although it will still be used by the charity as a crew training boat.


If you would like to support The Sunshine Campaign you can make a donation at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-sunshine-campaign?fbclid=IwAR0mt35cLhlIk9ZTKXL34TnQULIUizSUG4uRuYR44rO_IpnCHa-6SGwQxA4

182 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All