THE Yorkshire Building Society Group is extending its charity of the year partnership with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution into 2013 after raising £200,000 over the past 12 months.

The sum raised is the highest total achieved in the society’s history through a national fund-raising campaign.

The Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation also supported the 2012 charity of the year fund-raising campaign and made a significant contribution to boost the total raised by staff and members.

The 2013 charity of the year campaign has launched in branches of Yorkshire, Barnsley and Chelsea building society. For the first time the campaign has also launched in Norwich and Peterborough (N&P) branches across the country.

All 228 branches will be holding fund-raising activities throughout the year and selling RNLI items within the branches to raise money for the charity that saves lives at sea.

“The passion and enthusiasm our people have shown in raising this money for the RNLI has been fantastic and truly inspiring,” said Robin Churchouse, general manager at Yorkshire Building Society.

“We aimed to raise £100,000 throughout the year so to double our target is great news. Our relationship with the RNLI has been such a success that we have made the decision to continue the relationship for another year to increase that total further.

“The service the RNLI provides at sea and inland is truly invaluable so I am proud that we are able to show our support once again for this charity. I hope all our customers and members of the public who supported our fund-raising campaign last year will help us push on to make a really fantastic donation to the RNLI at the end of 2013.”

All money raised by the staff and members of Yorkshire Building Society will help the RNLI train more of its volunteer lifeboat crew and lifeguards. The volunteer crews, who are on call 24 hours a day, are the backbone of the lifeboat service, saving lives at sea.

There are more than 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members at the RNLI’s 236 stations around the UK and Ireland and another 3,000 volunteer shore crew members who support them.

Catherine Kaye, corporate partnerships manager for the RNLI, said: "Charity of the year partnerships are very important to the RNLI as we rely on voluntary contributions to continue our lifesaving work.

“We were delighted that Yorkshire Building Society has once again picked the RNLI as their charity for 2013. They smashed their £100,000 fund-raising target four months early, doubling this amount by the end of the year.

“The extension of this partnership for a second year will provide a tremendous boost to funding our crew training programme, vital training that helps turn RNLI volunteers into lifesavers.”