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Jake's father gives £7,500 to lifeboat

PUBLISHED: 10:47 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 July 2010

THE father of a five-year-old boy who drowned off the Norfolk coast while he was on holiday is to give one of the county's independent lifeboat stations a £7,500 boost.

THE father of a five-year-old boy who drowned off the Norfolk coast while he was on holiday is to give one of the county's independent lifeboat stations a £7,500 boost.

Described as lovely child who was full of fun, Jake Parker died in August 2000 while he was paddling in the sea off Brancaster.

Since the tragedy, his father Kevin Parker, of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, has dedicated himself to organising fund-raising events to support life-saving organisations in East Anglia.

When Jake disappeared the RNLI, 40 police officers, coastguards, two RAF Sea King helicopters and dozens of volunteers took part in an extensive search for the missing youngster.

As a thank you to sea rescue organisations, Mr Parker is to visit the crew of the Caister independent lifeboat in the next few months and present them with a cheque for about £7,500. He will also give £2,500 to the Sea Kings based at Wattisham airfield in Suffolk.

Mr Parker chose to support the Caister station as it needs to raise about £160,000 a year to operate.

On Monday Paul Garrod, the chairman of the Caister lifeboat station, and other crew members visited Mr Parker at the Wellingborough Working Men's Club to support his latest fund-raising fun day event which collected at least £600.

Mr Parker said: “Both the RNLI and Sea King rescue helicopters were out there for three days looking for my lad. I always said they did a lot for me and I wanted to return the favour.

“Every penny raised is a favour returned from me. Whatever I do to help is good for them.”

Mr Garrod said: “This donation will be a hell of a lump for us. Obviously we are all saddened by the circumstances behind it - but it is fantastic that Mr Parker has committed himself to supporting life saving organisations on the east coast.”

Jake vanished shortly after midday on Sunday, August 13 while playing on the packed beach on a day out with his parents and nine year old sister Lauren. He had been paddling at the water's edge and was being watched by his aunt.

He was found three days later by a pleasure yacht several hundreds yards out to sea off Brancaster.

After Jake's death signs were put along Brancaster's beach warning bathers of dangerous channels and powerful currents.

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