Redcar RNLI volunteer’s story features in charity’s national Mayday campaign

Lifeboats News Release

A story told by a Redcar RNLI crew member to illustrate the sacrifices made by lifeboat volunteers is featured in the charity’s national Mayday campaign, which launches today (Tuesday 26 April).

Dave Cocks, now Lifeboat Operations Manager at Redcar RNLI, shares a story about how he just missed his small son’s first solo bike ride after he was called away to help launch the  lifeboat.

A video featuring the story will be used on social media to generate support for the RNLI Mayday fundraising campaign, which focuses on the fact that ‘every day is Mayday for the RNLI’s volunteer crews.’ The tale is also central to media adverts and RNLI marketing material for RNLI Mayday, which runs until the May Day bank holiday (2 May).

Dave’s story:

'One sunny Saturday afternoon, Dave was teaching his four-year-old son to ride a bike in the quiet cul-de-sac outside of their home. He had just taken the stabilisers off and was about to watch his little boy cycle all by himself for the very first time – but then his pager beeped.

Without a second thought, Dave called his wife to come and look after their son as he rushed to the lifeboat station. One minute he was teaching his son to ride a bike, the next he was helping to launch the station’s lifeboat to save a stricken fisherman.

'When Dave returned home, he saw his boy riding without stabilisers shouting ‘Daddy, Daddy, look what I can do!’

'His heart sank; he’d missed the once-in-a-lifetime moment his son had learned to ride a bike.His heart sank; he’d missed the once-in-a-lifetime moment his son had learned to ride a bike.
Dave said: ‘It was heart-breaking to miss the moment when my son learned to ride a bike. But as a volunteer for the RNLI, you need to be willing to drop everything to save lives at sea when the pager beeps. We’re on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to help those in trouble at sea.’

Richard Lee, RNLI Marketing Manager, said: ‘We were so keen to feature Dave’s story in our Mayday campaign as it shows the sacrifices our volunteer crew members have to make when their pagers beep. Missing the chance to see his son ride a bike for the first time must have been devastating for Dave. But he did it without hesitation, to launch the lifeboat and help complete strangers in trouble at sea.’

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

Visit to read more stories like Dave’s; to donate; 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.

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

Video: The video of Dave’s story can be watched here:  

Picture caption: Dave Cocks, Redcar RNLI volunteer. Credit RNLI
A copy of one of the Mayday adverts featuring Dave’s story is also attached.

RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Alison Levett on 07786 668912 or at 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, in a normal year, 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 by email.