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London’s Hyde Park set for RNLI Big Lifeboat Pull

About the author

Image of Luke Blissett

Luke Blissett
Public Relations Officer at RNLI HQ, Poole.

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
    17/09/2013
  • Author: Luke Blissett

Members of the public are being encouraged to come to Hyde Park on Friday (20 September) to see a spectacular event take place featuring a huge lifeboat being pulled by teams to raise vital funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The Big Lifeboat Pull event will run from 10am to 2pm and will be an amazing sight to see, with nine teams of eight people from a range of organisations competing against each other to pull a 14-tonne, 11-and-a-half metre long Mersey class all-weather lifeboat a quarter-of-a-mile in the quickest time possible.

The lifeboat will be situated on a low loader during the event, creating a lung-busting combined weight of 37 tonnes for the teams to pull through the iconic central London park.

The Big Lifeboat Pull will take place at the north of Hyde Park, just opposite the Victoria Gate entrance, along North Carriage Drive – with the charity hoping to raise at least £20,000 through the event to help save lives at sea.

Humber Lifeboat Coxswain Dave Steenvoorden will host the Big Lifeboat Pull. Dave leads a dedicated crew based on the isolated Spurn Point at the mouth of the busy Humber estuary. Dave says: ‘The Big Lifeboat Pull is going to be an amazing spectacle, with a huge RNLI lifeboat being pulled through the fantastic setting of London’s Hyde Park – certainly not the sort of place you’d expect to see a lifeboat!

‘The participating teams are going to need to muster all their strength to pull the Mersey class lifeboat on a lorry for a quarter of a mile in the quickest time possible to win the event. So the teams will appreciate all the support they can get from members of the public who come along and cheer them on.

‘As the Humber Lifeboat Coxswain, I know just how important fundraising events and public donations are to our lifeboat crews. We can only go out and rescue those in trouble at sea because of the generosity of the public, as 92% of our income comes from donations. I’m really pleased that we are bringing this all-weather lifeboat to London and I hope this event helps to raise awareness of the RNLI’s lifesaving work.’

Anyone who cannot attend the RNLI Big Lifeboat Pull at Hyde Park on Friday 20 September can keep up-to-date with the event by following the charity on Twitter @RNLI and using #RNLIbigpull.

The lifeboat that the teams will be pulling at the event is called Inchcape and she is the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat normally based at Arbroath lifeboat station in Scotland. Inchcape will travel to Hyde Park from RNLI HQ in Poole, Dorset, after having a re-fit at the south coast town. She will then travel on to Arbroath Lifeboat Station after the event has taken place to resume her lifesaving service. Last year, Inchcape was launched 22 times with her volunteer crew rescuing 19 people, and the boat racking up 314 hours of service at sea.

A variety of organisations and industries have signed up to compete in the RNLI Big Lifeboat Pull. Legal eagles will compete against brewers, energy company staff will take on asset managers and insurers will go up against construction industry workers.

One of the teams taking part in the Big Lifeboat Pull is Windsor & Eton Brewery. Their Master Brewer, Paddy Johnson, said: ‘At the Windsor and Eton Brewery, we’re always looking at ways of giving back and supporting local communities where our beer is enjoyed. So when the RNLI Big Lifeboat Pull presented itself, we said yes straight away.’

The Windsor and Eton Brewery team will also contain some celebrities, with comedian Richard Sandling and Windsor-based rower Adam Freeman-Pask, who recently won a bronze medal at the World Rowing Championships in South Korea, both set to take part in the event.

The RNLI’s Tim Robertson has helped organise the event. He says: ‘Historically, there were many occasions when RNLI lifeboats had to be pulled by ropes in order to launch and save lives at sea. The Big Lifeboat Pull will provide the participating teams with the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of past RNLI volunteers who have pulled lifeboats by ropes – but instead of pulling a lifeboat to the sea in the driving rain or the dead of night, the team members will be pulling a lifeboat in the stunning grounds of London’s Hyde Park.’

In January 1899, volunteers at Lynmouth, Devon, pulled an RNLI lifeboat a staggering 15 miles over steep hills across Exmoor so the crew could go to the aid of the Forrest Hall ship in distress. A storm prevented the crew from launching at Lynmouth harbour, so the coxswain decided to take the boat overland to Porlock Weir so it could be launched there. Some 100 people and 18 horses pulled the 34-foot lifeboat during its 15-mile journey on a climb of over 1,400 feet.


Notes to Editors

• Members of the media are invited to attend the Big Lifeboat Pull event at London’s Hyde Park on Friday 20 September. Media opportunities include:
o Come on board the lifeboat (from 8am)
o Pre-event interview opportunities (from 8am)
o Have a go at pulling the lifeboat with RNLI staff (from 9am)
Please contact Luke Blissett on the details below for more information or to confirm your attendance.

RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Luke Blissett, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663184 or email Luke_Blissett@rnli.org.uk. 
  

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.

 

The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland