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RNLI issues its own call for help, as Mayday fundraising events sweep the nation

Lifeboats News Release

Rugby stars and ballerinas in wellies, cyclists taking part in the Tour de Yorkshire and fundraising events taking place across the UK and Ireland – Mayday, the RNLI’s annual national fundraising event, is here!

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) annual fundraising event, Mayday, has been launched today (Tuesday 26 April) and will run until Bank Holiday Monday (2 May), aiming to raise £750,000 to support the charity’s lifesaving service.


To kick off the campaign, prima ballerinas and Premiership rugby players have shown their support by swapping their ballet pointes and rugby boots for the RNLI’s iconic yellow wellies.


The Birmingham Royal Ballet performers and Wasps players were trying out their signature moves but without the crucial footwear that aides them so well in their jobs, instead swapped for bright yellow wellies.


James Haskell, England rugby star and Wasps captain, urges the public to support the RNLI’s Mayday campaign: ‘As rugby players our training is pretty gruelling – we’re always pushing ourselves to the max in all kinds of weather conditions, but at least we know when we’re expected to perform!


‘That’s why I have so much respect and admiration for the volunteer RNLI crew members as they drop everything in an instant to respond to a distress call to go out on a rescue, no matter what. The shoot has been fun although there is a serious message, so I’m asking everyone to help this amazing charity continue its essential lifesaving work by supporting them this Mayday.’  


Fundraising events are taking place right across the UK and Ireland, many with a yellow welly theme in a nod to the lifesaving kit that RNLI lifeboat crew members wear on their feet when saving lives at sea. Today, approximately 250 RNLI volunteers will be shaking collection buckets at train stations across London in support of Mayday.  


Fundraisers up and down the land will be selling yellow welly pin badges, so people can show their support for the RNLI’s volunteer crews this Mayday, while the public can also show their support on social media by using the hashtag #MaydayEveryday.


This year, the RNLI is the Tour de Yorkshire’s charity of the year, with all funds raised supporting Mayday. The prestigious cycle race runs from Friday 29 April to Sunday 1 May, with RNLI fundraisers set to collect donations from spectators on all three days of the event. Furthermore, over 90 amateur riders are raising money for the RNLI by taking part in the event’s sportive race for the charity, which takes place on Sunday 1 May.


Chris Speers, volunteer lifeboat crew member at Poole lifeboat station, in Dorset said: ‘RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland are willing to 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, which we operate day and night, 365 days a year.’


Every day is Mayday for the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews, who drop everything when the pager beeps to go and save lives at sea. They are on-call 24/7, rescuing an average of 22 people every day. Funds raised through Mayday will help them continue to save lives at sea.


To donate, find a Mayday event near you or to order a pin badge, visit



Notes to editors
  • Further images are available on request.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Luke Blissett, RNLI PR Officer, on 01202 663184 or email Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email

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 Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 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 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland