Ilfracombe RNLI has hailed its ‘amazing’ community after hitting the £12,000 target towards a new inshore lifeboat in just three weeks.

The appeal was launched on February 12 to raise money towards the cost of a new D class inshore lifeboat as the current inshore lifeboat the Deborah Brown II is reaching the end of its operational life.

By March 4 the Ilfracombe RNLI volunteer fundraising team had raised almost £13,000. The whole amount will go towards the cost of the new inshore lifeboat.

As soon as the appeal was launched the team received many donations from local people, groups and businesses, and the appeal also received a number of bequests.

Karen Ozelton, fundraising co-ordinator, said: 'The response from the community has been amazing. We would like to thank everyone who has donated and helped raise money for this appeal.

'The volunteers in the fundraising team have also worked very hard, contacting local businesses and organisations who have offered to donate and helping arrange events. The response has really been overwhelming.'

Each new D class costs £52,000 and the remaining cost is being met by Paul Brown and his family and friends who also raised the money for the station's previous two inshore lifeboats.

The new D class will be named Deborah Brown III in memory of his wife who passed away in 1996.

The new lifeboat will arrive at Ilfracombe lifeboat station around May and there will be an official naming ceremony later in July.