A fundraising campaign to replace a much-loved small boat stolen by thieves from Rodley Nature Reserve has smashed through its fundraising target.
The Mary Rose has been at Rodley Nature Reseve for more than 15 years and is only used three times a year to ferry volunteers to small islands to maintain nesting grounds for thousands of migrating birds.
Thieves stole the boat from its moorings over the weekend and escaped along the Leeds Liverpool Canal – and the reserve has now launched a ‘boat amnesty’ in a bid to get the Mary Rose.
But supporter Joanne Beck, from Yeadon, has launched an online Go Fund Me page to pay for a replacement boat – and generous supporters soared through the £300 target, raising £440 in less than 24 hours. Ms Beck wrote:
“The nature reserve doesn’t charge an entrance fee and is run entirely by volunteers. The boat is used to maintain the islands and the Sand Martin nest bank and to take care of the wildlife.
“It has also been chosen as a finalist in the BBC Countryfile magazine awards, which are a celebration of the British Countryside and its people. It is the only organisation in Yorkshire to be nominated.
“It’s a great place to visit with the family, so please donate what you can so they can continue their good work.”
The fundraising was welcomed by Rodley Nature Reserve on Twitter:
One of our brilliant supporters has kindly set this up https://t.co/z3qnAcl0jV we’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve received – you lot are amazing! Thank you
— Rodley Nature Reserve (@RodleyNR) 14 March 2018
Earlier this week trustee David Nesham appealed for the boat to be returned. He said:
“We’re only little, we don’t charge an entry fee and we’re run entirely by volunteers. Our boat was donated over 15 years ago to help us look after wildlife. In a way it’s nice she’s had a taste of the open canal, but we’d like her back now please!”
Volunteers have been trawling the canal to find Mary Rose without success.
Police have been informed and anyone with any information is urged to contact Rodley Nature Reserve on 0113 204 0441.