Cycling from the Capital to the Coast to fund a new RNLI Lifeboat
An intrepid couple from the Foreign Office will be taking part in a diplomatic mission with a difference this weekend when they cycle 250 miles from the capital to the coast to raise money towards buying a new lifeboat for the RNLI.
Jon Davies, Director of the Diplomatic Academy and his wife Claire, a ministerial Speechwriter at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have served in Kuwait, Singapore, Madrid and Cairo, but admit they’ve never undertaken a challenge like this before.
They will be leaving Tower Lifeboat Station in London on Friday 19 May and over the next few days will cycle to Wells-next-the-Sea Lifeboat Station in Norfolk to help raise money to buy a new Shannon class lifeboat for the volunteer crew there.
The RNLI is a cause close to their hearts. Jon is a trustee of The Lifeboat Fund, the Civil Service charity that supports the RNLI. The Fund is marking its 150th anniversary with an appeal to raise over a million pounds towards the new state of the art lifeboat for the Norfolk station.
“We love cycling, we wanted a challenge and it’s a great cause,” said Jon. “This will be our first multi-day ride and we’ll be carrying all our own stuff. It’s definitely the longest ride we’ve ever done!”
The couple will be cycling to Wells via the Suffolk coast, taking in two other RNLI Lifeboat Stations along the way – Southwold and Lowestoft. Claire grew up in Lowestoft and went to St Felix School in Southwold.
Jon and Claire hope to complete their challenge in time to be able to return to London for 24 May when they will join the Foreign Office Welly Walk – part of the RNLI’s Mayday campaign which aims to raise £750,000 to help fund vital kit needed for our lifeboat crews.
The couple will be paying for the entire trip themselves so all money raised will go directly to the RNLI. To sponsor them go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/JON-DAVIES17
The Lifeboat Fund - a charity of the Civil Service, BT and Royal Mail - has raised money for 52 lifeboats over its 150 years. Five boats and a hovercraft bearing a Civil Service number remain in service with the RNLI. The new Shannon lifeboat at Wells will be Civil Service number 53.
The Fund has pledged to raise £1.1 million towards the cost of the new Shannon class lifeboat for RNLI Wells-next-the-Sea. The new vessel will replace the 25 year old Mersey class lifeboat Doris M Mann of Ampthill which is nearing the end of her RNLI life. The new Shannon uses water jet engines instead of propellers making her more manoeuvrable and agile in difficult seas. She can be launched and recovered from the beach using specially designed equipment.
Note to Editors:
Jon and Claire (photo attached) are happy to be interviewed, filmed and photographed by the media at any of the RNLI locations they will be visiting on route – Tower, Southwold, Lowestoft and Wells-next-the-Sea.
Below is their schedule, but this may vary. For more precise arrival times during the trip the couple can be contacted on (07501) 084697 or (07768) 514525. Also included are Lifeboat Press Officer contacts for the Lifeboat stations who will also be able to provide information on the visits.
Fri 19 May: starting from Tower Lifeboat Station, Lifeboat Pier, Victoria Embankment WC2R 2PP at about 10.00am.
Sun 21 May: arrive Southwold Lifeboat Station late afternoon but before 1700pm.
Southwold Lifeboat Press Officer: Keith Meldrum (07825) 917833
Mon 22 May: Lowestoft Lifeboat Station late morning (time tbc)
Lowestoft Lifeboat Press Officer: Michael Howes (07814) 468917
Tues 23 May: arrive Wells-next-the-Sea Lifeboat station approx. 13.00am.
Wells Lifeboat Press Officer John Mitchell: (07831) 103166
RNLI media contacts
For more information, contact Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer, on 0207 6207416 or 07786 668825 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
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 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 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
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by 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.