Over the last 18 months the city has mounted an appeal to raise £66,185 to finance a
new lifeboat for Weston-Super-Mare, a target which is now within touching distance.
Coventry fishmonger Robert Stephenson, who owns a stall in the retail fish market, has
been instrumental in the raising of the money and believes it is a great achievement.
"This money that has been raised by the citizens of Coventry is very close to
enough to purchase a new lifeboat which is magnificent considering the appeal has been
running for just 18 months.
"In the fish market we are constantly raising money for different sea related
charities and it is very nice when that work comes to fruition in this way."
Stephenson, who is fondly known around the city as Rupert the Fish has run
the Coventry market stall since the retirement of his mother and his uncle in 1990
but admits it has always been in his blood.
"My family have been Coventry fishmongers since 1911 and I never really considered
doing anything else.
"I worked as an apprentice for various different fishmongers at the market before
buying the stall from my mother."
But it was long before owning the stall that Robert picked up his unusual nickname
as he explains:
"It was during the 70s when flares where in fashion, I had a pair of yellow
check ones and made the bad mistake of wearing them down the pub, hence Rupert
which has stuck ever since."
Once the fundraising for the lifeboat is completed Stephenson will set about starting
the next exercise, which is to raise money for the Royal Deep Sea Fisherman Fund.
The fund is designed to help the bereaved families of fisherman who have been lost at
sea, and Stephenson believes people do not realise how dangerous the occupation is.
"There are 11 fisherman lost at sea each month, which is a staggering statistic.
"If you or I injure ourselves or make a mistake at work it is no real crisis, but
if a fisherman does it can mean life or death.
"We will be building a full shipwreck inside the fish market to alert
peoples attention to this cause and hopefully we can raise a good deal of money for
what is a very just cause."