Barry Dock RNLI volunteer in unique Battle of Hastings anniversary fundraiser

Lifeboats News Release

A Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat volunteer and historical re-enactment enthusiast is marking the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings today (Friday 14 October) with a unique head-turning fundraiser.

Ben Phillips, who is in Hastings this weekend taking part in an anniversary re-enactment of arguably the most famous battle in British history, will from today be sporting a haircut not in vogue for the best part of a millennium.

When he went to the barber for the RNLI fundraising trim he didn’t ask a short back and sides, but instead for a “Norman soldier” – an eye-catching style depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry with no hair on the back of the head at all.

As well as being a senior member of Household Anglo-Norman Living History Society, Ben is an RNLI education volunteer delivering vital sea safety messages to school children and other young people. He is also volunteer lifeboat crew member at Barry Dock RNLI and his family have a long history of service with the station.
His historical hair challenge has already raised more than £500 for the charity. If the final total exceeds £800 he and the two historical society colleagues he roped into getting the same haircut will have to go about their lives with the new look for a whole month.

Ben said: ‘I want to raise money for the RNLI as it is a charity very close to me. My great grandfather and his brother were both crewmen, my dad is a Second Coxswain, I am an education volunteer and joined as lifeboat crew earlier this year.

‘The RNLI is an amazing charity that works 24 hours, every day of the year to prevent loss of life and to help those in need on our coast and at sea. This lifesaving work is funded almost entirely from the generous donations of our supporters and money is always needed for equipment for the crews, fuel for the lifeboats and to build and maintain the lifeboats and associated infrastructure.

‘As this year is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, I wanted to mark it in a special way, and how could I do better than raising money for a charity that I love.

’I'd like to thank Chaps Barbers in Battle for the haircuts. They kindly did them for free so all proceeds can go to the RNLI.’

Jen Abell, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager, said: ‘I have seen all kinds of fundraising initiatives for the RNLI, but Ben’s has to be one of the most memorable I’ve come across.

‘I urge as many people to donate to the RNLI as possible and then Ben will have to keep his new style until next month at least!

‘Everyone at the RNLI wishes Ben all the best for the big weekend.’

To donate to Ben’s appeal visit

Notes to editors:

Ben Phillips is available for interview. To arrange or for any more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or email

Pic captions:

- Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat volunteer Ben Phillips (right) following the Norman haircut today in Battle, near Hastings, to raise money for the RNLI. Pictured with fellow Household Anglo-Norman Living History Society members Tom Chadwick (left) and Mark Nicholls (centre). Credit Rebecca Tyson, of The Household Anglo Norman Living History Society.

- Ben in Norman soldier dress sporting his new hairdo. Credit Rebecca Tyson, of The Household Anglo Norman Living History Society.

- Chaps Barber's in Battle doing the unusual hairstyles. Rebecca Tyson, of The Household Anglo Norman Living History Society.

- The haircut is based on those sported by Battle of Hastings Norman soldiers as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry.

- Ben Phillips in lifeboat crew kit with with Barry Dock RNLI. Credit Becci Townsend.

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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.

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