Harry Styles campaign ensures that RNLI funds head in the ‘right direction'

Lifeboats News Release

A recent fundraising campaign to celebrate the birthday of One Direction’s Harry Styles has raised vital funds for The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the charity that saves lives at sea.

Sasha Wedge visiting Blackpool RNLI

RNLI/Simon Hoole

Sasha Wedge visiting Blackpool RNLI

Sasha Wedge, from Manchester, asked people to donate money to the RNLI as a 23rd birthday present for the pop star, whose debut solo single will be released this Friday (7 April).

The campaign smashed its target and raised 11,400 US dollars, the equivalent of over £9,000.*

Sasha, who runs the twitter account @StylesMovieNews came up with the idea of supporting the charity as Harry is appearing in the Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk. The movie tells the story of British forces embarking on a mission to evacuate Allied troops from the French port of Dunkirk in 1940. It will be released later in the year.

The RNLI was involved in this real life operation and on 30 May 1940; volunteer RNLI crews from Margate and Ramsgate joined an armada of little ships for one of the Second World War’s greatest rescues, Operation Dynamo, at Dunkirk.

A total of 19 RNLI lifeboats were among the armada that travelled to Dunkirk. However, only the Ramsgate and Margate lifeboats were manned by RNLI lifeboat crew. The other 17 lifeboats were used by the Navy but played an important part in the remarkable rescue mission.

In recognition of Sasha’s amazing fundraising efforts, she was invited to Blackpool RNLI with her friend Wiktoria Look, given a guided tour and met the volunteer crew.

Sasha explained: ‘It was through my research into the evacuation’s history that I realised the RNLI were a very fitting charity for Harry’s birthday drive. Not only were 19 of its lifeboats involved in saving thousands of soldiers just like Harry’s character in the film - but they continue to save lives today. I was overwhelmed by the support for the campaign, which received donations and support from fans all over the world.

‘My friend and I felt privileged and honoured to have been invited to meet the volunteer crew that man the Blackpool station. It was a very educational experience and it was brilliant to see exactly why fundraising for this charity is so important. Harry and his mother have both acknowledged and supported the fundraiser and I hope to continue fundraising for the RNLI in the future.’

Chloe Shore, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager, said: ‘We’ve been truly overwhelmed by Sasha’s amazing support and the many generous people who donated to the campaign.

‘Innovative fundraising initiatives like this mean that our charity and its volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, just as they did during the Second World War.’

Find out more about Sasha’s campaign here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Harry-Styles-Birthday

Notes to editors

· The campaign was conducted in dollars, as many of the people donating were in America.

RNLI Picture caption
1. The photograph shows Sasha Wedge (centre) with
Wiktoria Look (right) and the volunteer crew at Blackpool RNLI. Photo credit: Simon Hoole.

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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.

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