Answer the RNLI’s Mayday call and help save lives at sea

Lifeboats News Release

People in south west are being encouraged to help raise vital funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as part of the charity’s national annual fundraising event, Mayday.

The RNLI’s Mayday campaign launches today (Tuesday 26 April) and runs through to the May Day bank holiday on Monday 2 May, with street collections and fundraising events taking place across the UK and Ireland.

RNLI lifeboat crew members are volunteers and remain on call 24 hours a day, and when the pager goes off they’ll drop everything to help somebody in need - often sacrificing their work and personal commitments.

Chris Wade is a volunteer helmsman at Portishead RNLI. He was enjoying his son William’s 12th birthday party back in February when his pager sounded. He explains: ‘It was my son’s birthday on the Monday so we’d had a birthday lunch with family on the Sunday. We’d just done the cake and candles and sang ‘Happy birthday’ and it was just as we got the knife out to cut the cake that the pager went off. They all looked at me and knew I had to go, luckily they saved me a piece of cake for when I got back!

‘We were afloat for around six hours responding to a Mayday call near the Severn bridge and when I finally got home at around 10pm my son had stayed up to see me. My family are very understanding and know that if I’m available and the pager goes off, I will respond. The lifeboat is like a second family to me, and I enjoy being able to help people.

Chris is a head teacher and will wearing his wellies to work on Friday (29 April) along with the rest of the school, to raise money for the RNLI. He adds: ‘RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews around the country, like me, drop everything to go and save lives at sea when their pagers beep. The Mayday campaign is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to help us continue our lifesaving service.’

Pat Smith, aka Action Nan, has spent the last 21 days pounding the Cornish coast path raising money for the RNLI. Pat set off from Marsland near Bude on Wednesday 6 April and has been visiting RNLI lifeboat stations and lifeguarded beaches along the 297 mile route. Pat chose to support the RNLI as it is a cause close to her heart.

Today (Tuesday 26 April) she met RNLI volunteers from Looe RNLI on the penultimate day of her walking challenge. She says: ‘I’ve had the most amazing experience over the last three weeks and have loved it. People have shown an incredible amount of kindness and support and it has been a real test of my inner ability to stay focused. I have been given permission to experience and love the place I live in and have seen the most incredible sights, all on my doorstep.’

Pat is due to finish her walk tomorrow (Wednesday 27 April) as she walks from Portwrinkle to Cremyll, arriving at around 4-5pm.

Many of the Mayday fundraising events taking place this week will have a yellow welly theme, in a nod to the essential kit that the RNLI’s lifeboat crew members wear on their feet when they go out to sea to save lives.

The RNLI is encouraging people to show their support by using the hashtag #MaydayEveryday on social media, buying and wearing a Mayday yellow welly pin badge, hosting or supporting a fundraising event or donating online.

Visit to donate, to order a pin badge or to see what other ways you can support the RNLI’s Mayday campaign. Alternatively, text MAYDAY to 70300 to donate £3*.

Money raised through Mayday fundraising events will support the RNLI’s lifesaving work – it could be used to fund crew training, buy new crew kit, or contribute towards the running costs of a lifeboat station.

The RNLI operates 237 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland. Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews launched 8,228 times, rescuing 7,973 people and saving 348 lives.

* Texts cost £3 + standard network rate. Please ensure you have the bill payer’s permission. The RNLI will receive £3.

Notes to editors

Attached is a Mayday 2016 image and an image of Action nan at Looe lifeboat station today – credit RNLI.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668847 or Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.