Portsmouth shines a light – and delivers plenty of welly – for Mayday!
Volunteer RNLI crews from Portsmouth and Hayling Island lifeboat stations teamed up with RNLI lifeguards to ensure the charity’s annual national fundraiser – Mayday – was seen far and wide this weekend.
With its message ‘Do your bit fund our kit’ the aim of the Mayday campaign is to raise £750,000 to help pay for the crucial kit volunteer crews rely on, such as life jackets, helmets and the RNLI’s iconic yellow wellies.
A key part of Mayday is the RNLI Mayday Welly Relay and this weekend it was the turn of the Portsmouth and Hayling lifeboat crews to do their bit in helping the welly along on its journey around the UK coast from Portishead Lifeboat Station to Harwich Lifeboat Station.
After being transferred from the crew of the RNLI Bembridge lifeboat on the Isle of Wight to the Portsmouth – Isle of Wight passenger hovercraft, the crew of the inshore lifeboat from Portsmouth then took charge of the welly before bringing it ashore at Southsea beach.
The welly was then paraded along the beach, with assistance from the RNLI’s very own Stormy Stan, before it was passed to RNLI lifeguards who paddled the welly along the seafront before it was returned to the Portsmouth crew.
The following day the Portsmouth and Hayling Island lifeboats joined forces in front of Portsmouth’s Emirates Spinnaker Tower so the boot could be passed to the Hayling crew who will escort it on the next leg of its journey.
To top it all off, that evening the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, which soars over the Portsmouth skyline, was lit-up bright yellow to broadcast the Mayday Message far and wide.
‘It really was a great weekend and very energetic!’ said Portsmouth Lifeboat Press Officer Aaron Gent. ‘It was a real team effort with the crews from Portsmouth and Hayling coming together as well as joining up with the lifeguards on the beach.’
‘It was great to see Stormy Stan running along the seafront and wonderful to see the reaction of children on the beach,’ he added. ‘The crew carried collecting buckets along the beach – and we raised more than £200 from that alone.’
‘The only downside was that a planned abseil by crew members down the 560ft Spinnaker Tower had to be cancelled due to high winds, but this will be rescheduled for a later date,’ said Aaron.
Mayday distress calls can come in any time, day or night, 365 days a year, and the RNLI has 4,800 volunteer crew members from 238 lifeboat stations across the UK and Ireland on standby to drop everything in an instant to save lives.
Roseanne Blaze, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager, said: ‘Our crews rely on lifesaving kit, like their yellow wellies, lifejackets and helmets, when they go out in all weathers to save lives. From sponsored bike rides and welly walks, to running a bake sale, there are all sorts of ways to raise money for the RNLI this Mayday. Visit RNLI.org/Mayday to register for a fundraising pack and see how you can do your bit to fund our kit.’
Roseanne continued: ‘Our lifeboat crews at Portsmouth RNLI Lifeboat Station launched 111 times in 2016, making it the third busiest coastal lifeboat station last year. They rescued 125 people and saved 35 lives.’
Mayday fundraising events are taking place right across the UK and Ireland, many with a yellow welly theme.
To find a Mayday event near you, or to register for a fundraising pack, visit RNLI.org/Mayday
Please find photos attached. For additional photos please see visit the RNLI News Centre at www.rnli.org where they can be downloaded. There is also a time-lapse of the Spinnaker Tower turning yellow which is available for online/social media sites.
Photo caption one: The Hayling Island inshore lifeboat (left) joins the Portsmouth inshore lifeboat for the welly hand-over in front of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower.
Photo caption two: The crew of the RNLI Portsmouth inshore lifeboat join lifeguards Kim Dugan and Jack Allman on Southsea beach.
Photo caption three: Lifeguard Jack Allman paddles the welly ashore.
Photo caption four: The Emirates Spinnaker Tower glows bright yellow to celebrate Mayday.
Photo credits: Aaron Gent.
Aaron Gent, Portsmouth Lifeboat Station Press Officer: 07947 537108
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.
RNLI notes to editors
RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland are on call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to any emergency at sea.
With an average of 24 callouts a day, there's most likely an RNLI lifeboat out on a rescue right now.
For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press
Emirates Spinnaker Tower notes to editors
The Emirates Spinnaker Tower visitor attraction business is owned by Heritage Projects (Portsmouth) Ltd., part of Continuum Attractions. The building was built and is owned by Portsmouth City Council. A 5 year sponsorship deal for the Tower naming rights was agreed between Portsmouth City Council and Emirates Airlines in June 2015.
Emirates Spinnaker Tower is part of the World Federation of Great Towers, working in partnership with 49 other viewing towers worldwide.
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.
A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.
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.