LIFEBOAT volunteers have delivered 3,000 Easter eggs to youngsters in hospital.

The annual appeal by Clacton RNLI is celebrating an egg-straordinary tenth anniversary this year.

The crew called on generous residents to donate chocolate eggs, which they deliver to youngsters in hospitals across the region last week.

Helmsman Tim Sutton came up with the idea after seeing his own daughter Amy spend the holidays in Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Tim is due to retire from the crew next January after 26 years but will continue the Easter and Christmas appeals.

He said: “I can’t thank everyone enough for the fantastic support, this year has surpassed my wildest dreams.

“The size of this year’s donations has meant we have been able to reach out to more children’s hospices, hospitals, and respite care homes in Essex, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire.”

It is estimated that 27,000 eggs have been donated to hospitals over the past ten years,

A spokesman for the crew added: “This year’s appeal was extra special for Tim, who will be retiring at the end of the year, when he reaches the operational age limit for the RNLI’s inshore lifeboats stationed at Clacton.

“Tim has vowed to continue his efforts in trying to put a smile on children’s faces once he retires, but went all out to make this an extra special year.”

“The overwhelming generosity of residents and businesses grew with donations coming in from all over.

“Due to the generosity, it became very difficult to keep track of every contributor, but a few notable ones are Alton Park Primary School and Busy Bees Nursery, who between them collected nearly 1,000 eggs.”

The appeal culminated with a 300-mile road trip for Tim, fellow volunteers and his daughter Amy, thanks to Dial a Ride, who supplied a mini bus, and the Snell family, who covered the fuel costs.