THE family of a man who was lost at sea made a special donation to the RNLI this year.

On June 12, 1995, a powerboat with three Chard men on board - Andrew Sparks, 29, and Tom and Leslie Davies, aged 36 and 33 - was overdue from a fishing trip.

The search for the three men involved five lifeboats from RNLI Lyme Regis, two RAF Nimrod aircraft, two coastguard helicopters and two Royal Navy helicopters.

The Lyme Regis RNLI volunteers were at sea for more than 16 hours, which meant six crew changes were needed and 400 litres of fuel was used.

Sadly, despite the lengthy search, the men were not found.

The bodies of Andrew and Tom were found in the following months, but the body of Leslie was never found.

Chard & Ilminster News: TRAGEDY: Andrew Sparks

Sarah Haskins, Andrew's sister, who is also from Chard, donated two pairs of powerful binoculars 26 years after the tragic incident.

They were donated in memory of Andrew, and given to the Lyme Regis volunteers.

She raised £1,000 among family and friends to buy the binoculars and a plaque.

Sarah, and her family and friends, visited the lifeboat station to present the donation.

“As a family we always support the RNLI,” said Sarah. "And the donation is also to mark the diamond anniversary of my parents Val and Bill Sparks.”

Chard & Ilminster News: DONATION: Sarah Haskins, grandson Jaacobb, six, with lifeboat crew member Brian Street

Lifeboat operations manager, Nick Marks, said they were 'very grateful' for the binoculars.

"They will be a vital aid to us, providing close up views in all directions from the lifeboat station balcony,” he added.