IT WAS a freak accident that brought tears to the eyes of men everywhere.

Pete Lovett’s testicles were almost severed from his body after he caught them on a hook during a sailing trip off the Hampshire coastline last year.

Pete was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital after a major rescue operation involving Hamble Lifeboat.

The 49-year-old roofer has spent months raising funds for the lifeboat crew, who want to replace their boathouse with a new purpose-built complex costing at least £260,000.

His tongue-in-cheek campaign, Pete’s Plums, aims to get people laughing at his misfortune – then dig deep to support the cause.

Pete’s Plums has so far raised more than £9,000, including a £3,744 donation from the Port Solent-based Pathfinder Powerboat Club, of which he has been a member for four years.

Pete, of Wolvey, Leicester, was sailing in Stanswood Bay, near Calshot, last summer when the accident occurred.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the sailor’s testicles were left hanging six inches down his leg.

Specialist plastic surgeons were recalled from leave to perform a three-hour repair operation that left him with 60 stitches along a six-inch scar. He has since made a full recovery.

“Friends still tease me about what happened. I’m known as Pete the Plum and I don’t think that will ever go away,” he said.

His fundraising campaign, which has almost reached its £10,000 target, aims to raise awareness of the need to support Britain’s independent lifeboat stations.

“There are 62 around the country but a lot of people think they’re part of the RNLI,” he said.

The Pathfinder Powerboat Club cheque was handed over during an event at which the Hamble lifeboat crew outlined their plans for a new boathouse.

They have already raised about £230,000, which includes a £50,000 grant from Eastleigh Borough Council and £130,000 in pledges from various organisations and individuals.

Work is set to start at the end of this year, with the new station opening in time for next summer.